Brand New Solar Lights Not Working: The Solutions

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You have bought a set of solar lights, but for some reason they aren’t working the way you expect. Why? Keep reading for the answers you need!

This article highlights everything you need to know about solar lights, their components, functions, advantages, and disadvantages. It also highlights the steps you should follow in case your newly purchased solar light is not working.

Parts of a Solar Light

Solar lights are made of typical components that make them unique among other traditional lights, including:

Solar Cell

The solar cell or solar panel is responsible for converting solar energy into electrical energy.

Ni-Cad Rechargeable Battery

Nickel-cadmium batteries are used to store solar energy. These are chargeable using the sun as a source of energy.

LED light

It is a semiconducting diode, and it serves as a light source by emitting light on the passage of current.


Also called the light-dependent resistor (LDR), the photoresistor acts as an indicator of light. It identifies the presence or absence of light and changes the circuit actions accordingly.

How Are Solar Lights Different From Other Electric Lights?

As predicted by their names, the main difference lies in their source of energy. An electric light takes energy from your home electricity. However, a solar power light uses sunlight as a source of energy.

Solar lights, when compared to traditional electric lights, have the following superior and inferior points:


  • Cost-Effective: They help you save on your electricity consumption by using solar energy instead of in-house electricity.
  • Easy Installation: You can easily install them around your landscape without professional help.
  • Less Need for Maintenance: They need less maintenance as compared to other electric lights for their wiring.
  • Pleasing Aesthetics: They come in different fixture styles. Also, they radiate bluish color light, whereas traditional lights cannot.


How Do Solar Lights Work?

The circuit of a solar light comprises batteries and solar panels. Both of them combine with solar energy to light up in the following way:

Step 1: The solar panel in your light detects and absorb sunlight.

Step 2: The batteries store this sunlight in the form of energy.

Step 3: Once sunset occurs, this stored energy is transformed into light energy.

Step 4: Your solar lights turn.

You will not only find the best solar lights for the garden but the roof of the house, as well. Their use is not restricted to the outdoors, but they are perfect for use indoors, as well. Although, you will need to place them in direct sunlight for charging. Once charged for eight to 12 hours, they can remain functional for up to 15 hours.

Brand New Solar Lights Not Working

Finding your brand new solar lights not working is not less than a bolt out of the blue. If your light doesn’t operate in one go, there might be following reasons behind it:

  • Use of old batteries
  • Insufficient charging of the light
  • A defective solar panel
  • Broken solar light

How to Make Your Solar Light Work in Seconds

Before returning your solar lights to the retailer, make sure you are not the one at fault. Many people using it for the first time are unaware of its proper handling.

Don’t forget to read the manual thoroughly. If you still find yourself in trouble, then check out these tips that will switch on your light in no time:

1. Check the Pull Tab on Your Battery

A pull tab is attached to all newly bought solar lights. It avoids the initiation of the working cycle of the batteries. This prevents the corrosion of the batteries. If you are ever stuck with the blow of non-functioning solar light, this might be the reason.

To solve this, open the rear part of the solar light. Check for the pull tab and remove it. Once done, your light will start working. If it does not turn on, then you must go to the second option given below.

2. Look for the Switch On/Off Button

Not all solar lights come with the same functioning. Some are designed with an on/off button, while others are without it. Those without any power button switch on as soon as it turns dark.

If you have worked previously with solar lights without the power button, the chances are that you might be looking for the newly purchased product to turn on by itself. Well, that’s not always the case.

To solve this, look for the power button on your solar light. Switch it on if it’s turned off. In case your light remains non-operating, check it in the dark.

3. Cover the Solar Panel

Solar lights have special sensors that absorb the energy from sunlight during the daytime. These sensors stop charging once removed from direct sunlight and start operating.

If you check your light in the daytime, they will never turn on. You will have to stimulate darkness to check if they are functioning properly.

In case your brand new solar light not working, cover it with your palm. If it still doesn’t turn on, place it in the dark and then recheck.

4. Replace the Batteries

Sometimes the batteries that come with brand new solar lights are faulty. If your solar light looks fine but still not working, try replacing the batteries. The absence of the pull tab may also leave your batteries corrosive, which can stop your lights from functioning.

To replace the batteries, first take out the defective ones. Discard them properly. Then, use a cotton swab dipped in white vinegar to clean the contact area. Lastly, place new batteries. Make sure you always remove the batteries in case your light is not in use for several days.

brand new solar lights not working 2
Solar-powered lamp on garden background. Selective focus.

5. Remove Dust from the Solar Panel

Solar panels are the medium through which solar energy reaches the batteries. Your newly bought solar lights may remain unpacked for hours before you check it. This can cover your panel with dust, which may decrease the absorption of rays. If your panel has dust over its surface, chances are your solar light will not function optimally.

To solve this, take a damp cloth and clean off the dust on the surface of the solar panel. Charge it again for 12 hours. Clean your solar panel now and then. Make sure to place it in a secure place when not in use to ensure its maximum performance.

6. Change Your Light Angle

Your solar light should be placed at an angle to absorb maximum sunlight. If you find your brand new solar lights not working, try changing its angle.

This is an area of concern for indoor solar lights because they charge indirectly through windows. The setting of the solar panel at a 45-degree angle is best, especially in winters. This angle allows maximum charging even if kept in sunlight for only four to five hours.

7. Place Your Panel South Facing

Your solar panel works the same way as a satellite does; it works best when placed in the right direction. Making sure that your solar panel is south-facing ensures the maximum amount of sun exposure from dusk to dawn.

If the sensor is not placed in the right direction, it may lack its substantial charging. This can either lead to dull lightening or decrease working time.

8. Try Deep Charging Therapy

Before you turn on that newly purchased solar light, charge it for 24 hours first. Make sure you consider the following while charging it:

  • Check the batteries.
  • Switch off the power button (if present).
  • Place south facing in direct sunlight.
  • Place it at a 45-degree angle.

9. Avoid Shadows When Charging

It is best to avoid shadows as they can cause a hindrance when charging. These overlying shadows are much common during the summer. Hence, you should check for shadows in case your solar light is not receiving enough amount of light.

When you see your lights giving faded illuminance due to decreased charging, it is best to change their position.

10. Use Mirrors for Elevated Charging

Mirrors are best for redirecting the direction of sun rays appropriately towards your solar lights. These are the best solutions when they are positioned underneath shadows.

Here is what you can do to dodge shadows:

  • Take mirrors twice as the size of the solar panel.
  • Position mirror diagonally to the ground.
  • Place the mirror alongside the solar panel.

If your solar panel still does not work, try charging other alternatives for charging.

11. Try Using Other Charging Sources

For more than a decade, it was believed that solar lights could only be charged through sunlight. Fortunately, that’s not true. You might be living in one of those places where direct sunlight is a big problem. In such cases, solar batteries can be charged without sunlight using:

  • Household lights
  • Household bulbs
  • Incandescent bulbs

These are only alternatives on a cloudy day, winters, or in case you don’t have direct access to sunlight. If you have a garden or lawn, then make the most of it by charging in direct sunlight.

12. Check for Water Ingression

Water ingression or condensation can also lead to your brand new solar lights to not work. Water ingression occurs in liquid form. Condensation, on the other hand, is the conversion of water vapor in liquid.

Solar lights purchased from a good company does not lead to this problem. It is highly recommended to check IP ratings of the companies before buying a solar light.

To solve this problem, remove the cover that can trap moisture. Then, dry out the light by placing it in a warm cupboard. Next, assemble the solar light with the batteries. Charge it for 48 hours and check again.

13. Watch Out for Squirrels

This is particularly true for landscapes and garden solar lights. These hungry animals love to feed on wires. You might have recently installed a solar light in daylight and find it non-functioning in the night. This is because the wires might have fallen prey to these animals. In such cases, you need to call a professional for assistance and get it fixed as soon as possible.

14. Tune the Sensor Dials

The sensor dials tell the sensor how dark it should be before activation. Sometimes, the light is placed near a lamp. This tricks the solar light into thinking that it is daytime; hence, keeping it off.

Your brand new solar light might not be working due to this dial. Fine-tuning of this sensor dial can wake your panel and switch on the light.

15. Test Your Sensor

When everything else fails, it is time to check your sensor. The solar panel is the most important component of a solar light. If, after all the above measures, your brand new light still doesn’t work, then you need to get it checked by an expert.

16. Contact the Retailer

If, after all the hard work, you still fail to fix your brand new solar light, this is the time to call your retailer. You should always make sure to buy solar lights with warranty and proper packaging.

Most of the issues occur when you purchase it online without prior checks. To avoid such a problem, you should always:

  • Check the IP rating of the selling company.
  • Purchase solar lights from a trusted company.
  • Ask for a warranty.
  • Do prior testing before buying.

Final Words

Solar lights are a huge capital investment; they are the best way to save money in the long-term, and a step towards an environment-friendly lifestyle. However, before buying, prior research on its pros and cons should be taken into account.

Not all solar lights are faulty if they are not working right from the start. Some tips can be used to fix newly bought solar lights. If the issue remains unresolved, then you can claim for an exchange or a complete refund.

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