How to Charge Solar Lights Without Sun

Like other solar-powered appliances, solar lights require sunlight exposure to recharge when they run out of charge. Most of these lights need between 5 and 8 hours of sunlight to charge fully. But the sun isn’t always there, is it? Like at night or on a cloudy day and winter when there is no adequate sunlight. Such conditions can make it difficult to charge. Fortunately, there are ways to go around this problem! You can charge solar lights without the sun and use them even when the conditions seem unfavorable.

There are different ways you can charge solar lights without direct sunlight. Some are more effective than others. Also, the time it takes to fully charge can vary depending on the method you use:

Using Indirect Sunlight

Charging your solar lights indirectly through a window is another way to charge indoors. This method especially works for small and low sunlight solar lights. Just place the solar cell part of your lights directly in the window sill for the charging to be fast and more effective.

Using Standard Electricity

If your solar lights have a USB charging option or use standard electrical outlet style plugs then you can charge it using standard electricity. It is actually a good option in certain situations where you want a full charge and fast, like during emergencies, camping or traveling to a place with no standard electricity. Most solar-powered appliances nowadays come with the option of charging using standard electricity. This definitely helps when the solar option is off the table.

Using Artificial Light

If you are looking to charge a solar light at night when the sun is down, you can do it using artificial light from regular light bulbs.  While this method isn’t as effective as using direct sunlight and could take a bit longer to charge, it works. You can use any type of light bulb that creates light within the correct light wave spectrum, like incandescent and LED.

This method isn’t so energy efficient. It would be wiser to use the electricity powering the artificial light to charge your solar powered lights. Only use it if you don’t have any other option

The solar cells can collect and convert into energy light waves from regular bulbs just like solar power. But the lights should be bright enough so that the light wavelengths are almost similar to the ultraviolet waves from the sun. Then, position your solar lights about 20 inches away from the light source for as many hours as possible. Wattage is another factor that will determine how fast you charge your solar lights using this method. The higher the wattage of the incandescent bulb, the faster the charge it will produce.

How to Charge Solar Lights in Winter

The winter sun isn’t as intense as that of summer months, and your solar panels may not charge as quickly or efficiently. Charging solar lights in winter can be affected by the snow, shorter daylight hours, and shadows. To keep the light powering the solar cells up:

  • Regularly clear the snow from your solar panels and light faces using a soft cloth or soft-bristle brush that won’t damage the solar cells. Here is a guide we made on how to clean panels for better output
  • Relocate your solar panels to avoid shadows.

Solar panels do not necessarily require direct sunlight to produce the energy that they then convert to electricity. With the methods we’ve discussed above, you should be able to charge your solar lights without the sun or when sunlight isn’t sufficient.