do solar lights need sun or just daylight

Do Solar Lights Need Sun or Just Daylight? – 6 Great Charging Tips

Solar lights are a great way to provide light without pesky cords or constantly replacing batteries. You can choose from many great options depending on your needs: accent lights, string lights, path lights, and spotlights can light up your yard. Planning on hosting a bonfire this summer? Light the way for your guests from the house to the firepit or create good vibes for a party space. 

Many people choose to incorporate solar lights into their landscape for any number of reasons including functionality and style. You may have even come across them in a friend’s yard or a neighbor’s walkway. But you may be asking, do solar lights need sun or just daylight to charge? 

do solar lights need sun or just daylight

How Do They Charge? 

Solar lights have three parts: the light sensor, the solar panel, and the battery. The solar panel on each light source contains photovoltaic cells. These cells capture and absorb the sunlight and transform that energy into electricity. The battery stores all of the energy absorbed by the sun through the solar panel. The light sensor is used to tell the energy when to turn on. The solar panel is also what senses when it is nighttime and turns the light on, powered by the sunlight it gathered during the day. By using the sun to power your lights you are saving money by not using electricity, not to mention the added bonus of being environmentally friendly. 

The sun is a great source of renewable energy. You may be concerned you can’t find a spot for your lights in direct sunlight all day, that’s okay! Your lights will still charge in the daylight, your lights just might be dimmer if they do not receive the full amount of sun. This should not be a problem as some batteries will already come precharged, which will help them retain some energy.

Because solar lights get recharged by the sun, keeping them in a place that receives sunlight is important to get their top performance. That being said, daylight will still charge your lights even on cloudy days, the lights just might not be as bright and they will likely charge slower. Depending on the quality of your lights, you can still get a pretty good performance from them even without a full charge from direct daylight. 

The brightness of your lights will depend on what kind of light, solar panel, and battery type you get. Sometimes the ones on the pricier end of things are worth the purchase because they are of higher quality. The higher the quality of your lights, the better they will function and produce light. 

Tips for You

Do you need to find a light source to charge your solar lights? There are a few options. 

  1. For the best charge, try to find the place in your landscape that gets the most sunlight during the day
  2. Some may find it worth it to set up a larger solar panel in a spot with full sun and connecting it to the solar lights, especially if where you need the light at night is shady during the day
  3. Even if your lights don’t get sunlight all day, they will still light up at night, just not as brightly
  4. Make sure the batteries are charged; replacing them around every 2 years will help to optimize their performance 
  5. If your lights are in the shade during the day, they will take longer to recharge and shine dimmer, but still work 
  6. Replacing batteries helps to make sure your lights are operating at their full potential 

Why You Should Invest in Solar Lights

  • Lights add style to your landscape
  • Make your paths visible in the dark
  • Save electricity and save you money!
  • Durable, long-wearing investment 
  • Works in any weather environment 
  • Easy to install and low maintenance
  • Allows you to easily see in the darkness 
  • Often you can find a warranty if any break or don’t operate correctly


So, at the end of the day, proper care and placement of your solar lights will help them light up your night brightly. They can be charged by daylight, but the best performance comes from direct sunlight. If one position doesn’t seem to work for your lights, try another, or even try rotating them.

Written by Jessica Lee

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