Why Are My Solar Lights Not Working? 12 Common Reasons

Solar lights are a hassle-free alternative to normal lights but sometimes they can go out of order and it’s common with all gadgets or machines. Whether your solar lights are brand new or old. They can be fixed in a few minutes or if something serious you will need to replace a part or two. So the question remains, why are my solar lights not working?

Let’s find out!

Why Do Solar Lights Stop Working?

Solar lights are convenient and reliable lighting sources. They are made of durable materials that can withstand extreme weather conditions. But solar lights can stop working sometimes. There might be some issues like lack of sunlight, dead batteries, broken wires, faulty sensors, humidity, etc.

Solar lights involve many parts like panels, bulbs, batteries, controllers, and sensors. So you need to check all of them to know why your solar lights have stopped working.

Brand New Solar Lights Are Not Working?

So you bought a solar light and it is not working. I know how that feels. There could be several reasons behind this.

  • Your solar light batteries might have a pull tab. During shipping, it prevents the battery from being consumed. It also stops the light from working. Remove the pull tab from the batteries.
  • You might get a defective piece. It can happen even to reputable companies. In this case, contact the manufacturer and return the product.
  • Your solar lights might not be charged. Many solar lights come pre-charged but some might need to be fully charged before using them for the first time. Check the user manual to learn more about your solar light. Also, check whether they are receiving enough sunlight to charge.
  • Your solar lights might be switched off. Solar lights have an on and off button. Turn them on if they aren’t working.

12 Common Problems With Solar Lights and How to Fix Them

12 common problems with solar lights and how to fix them.

1. Check Whether They are Turned on or not

The first thing to check is whether your solar light is on. Most of the time people don’t realize that their solar lights are turned off. Most solar lights operate automatically. But they have an on/off switch. So turn them on if they are off.

2. Check If There’s a Pull Tab on the Battery

This one is especially for brand-new lights. Most lights come with a pull tab to protect the battery while shipping. It is an insulator that prevents current flow. Remove the pull tab from the batteries and your solar lights will work.

3. Your Solar Lights are not getting Enough Sunlight

Solar lights operate using sunlight. They won’t work if they don’t get sunlight exposure. Check whether your solar lights are getting enough sunlight to charge or not. There is a possibility that trees and walls might block sunlight to the extent that they cease to charge.

4. Clean the Panel If it’s Dirty

The dirt and debris on the solar lights panel prevent sunlight from hitting the panel surface. This reduces the panel’s efficiency. If not cleaned regularly, it can accumulate to the extent that it blocks the light completely, and solar light will not charge and stop working. Also, clean the fallen leaves on the panels as they can completely block the sunlight.

5. Check the Batteries and Replace them if Needed

If your solar lights are not working the batteries might be the reason. Solar lights store energy in their batteries to use at night. Batteries typically have a three-year lifespan. The batteries reduce their efficiency as time passes and eventually die.

If the solar lights are not performing as they used to or are not working, test the solar lights with regular batteries of the same specification. This will enable you to see if the batteries are the culprit or not. If so, replace the old batteries with new rechargeable batteries.

Tip: You can try the deep charging technique. Your batteries might not get a full charge. You can turn them off and charge them for 72 hours. This will help your batteries get fully charged. You can try it before replacing the batteries.

You can do this every month to increase battery life.

6. Check the Cables.

Solar lights work with solar energy and don’t need plugging in. But they have internal wires connecting the components. Ensure that they are properly connected. If your solar lights panel is connected separately with a cable, make sure to check that wire and fix it if it’s broken. 

7. Check and Fix the Motion Detector

Solar lights turn on automatically using motion sensors. If your solar light is among them, you should test the motion sensor. It might be faulty. Clean the sensor and see if it works. You can also adjust the motion sensor sensitivity. If the motion sensor does not work, you need to replace it.

8. Check and Fix the Light Sensor

Solar lights use a light sensor to operate from dusk to dawn. If your solar light has this functionality, check the light sensor. It might be faulty. Clean the sensor and test it by blocking the light around it. If it works congrats otherwise you need to replace it.

9. Check and Fix LED Bulbs

If all other parts are fine, the LEDs might be faulty. LEDs have a long lifespan, but they can also malfunction. Replace the LEDs if you can. If not, you will have to buy new solar lights.

10. Solar Light Might be near Other Light Sources

As I said before solar lights switch on automatically using a light sensor. When the light level drops below a certain point, the light sensor detects it and turns on the light. But when a solar light is placed near other light sources like poles or other solar lamps, the sensor thinks it’s still daytime and won’t turn on the light.

To fix this install it away from other lights. Some solar lights have the option to adjust the light sensor sensitivity. You can try that as well.

11. Solar Light Might Have Water Buildup

Solar lights are durable and stop dust and water from getting inside. They are built to remain outside and face extreme temperatures. But due to harsh weather or loosen seals, some water might get inside and stop the light from functioning. To fix this disassemble the solar light and clean it with a dry cloth. Reassemble the solar light and check if it’s working.

12. Contact the Manufacturer

If all of the steps mentioned failed to fix the solar light, the last thing is to contact the manufacturer. Contact the manufacturer for further assistance and if you have a warranty, you can claim it. Always buy solar lights with a warranty and check user reviews to make the best decision.


In summary, if your solar lights are not working, there are several common reasons to consider. These include the lights being turned off, pull tabs on brand new lights, insufficient sunlight exposure, dirty solar panels, faulty batteries, broken cables, malfunctioning motion or light sensors, faulty LED bulbs, proximity to other light sources, and water buildup. To troubleshoot, check the on/off switch, remove pull tabs, ensure adequate sunlight, clean panels, test and replace batteries if needed, check and fix cables, sensors, and bulbs, adjust sensor sensitivity, address water buildup, and contact the manufacturer if necessary.

Hyder Ali is a writer from Pakistan who writes well researched articles on different topics. He has been writing on Medium and other platforms for a long time. He tries his best to write correct information and help his readers solve their problems.

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