Do Solar Garden Lights Work?

Updated February 21, 2017

Solar garden lights work by taking the energy from the sun's rays and converting it with the batteries stored inside the garden lights. When installed and cared for correctly, solar garden lights will work for years to come. In fact, the LED technology inside the light lasts a lifetime and will never require you to change a burnt-out or broken bulb inside the light.


Solar garden lights are easier to install than traditional garden lights because they aren't wired together with a cord. You don't need to dig a trench and you won't trip over the cord with solar lights. Just push the bottom of the unit into the soil or grass in your preferred location. You can move the location of the solar light as often as you wish. Just make sure to charge the batteries for a few days before you install them in your yard; this gives them the best chance of survival for years to come.


Solar panels need constant and direct sunlight in order to work best. Unfortunately, if the panels themselves become dusty or dirty, the unit won't work as well. Keep the solar lights working best by wiping the panel off with a damp cloth; this ensures the panels can absorb the most light. If the panels routinely get muddy from splashed water, consider applying mulch near the base of the light to limit splashes or moving the light to a less damp location.


According to an online article from Outdoor Solar Lighting, battery failure is the biggest problem with solar lights. Replace the batters as needed with new rechargeable batteries made specifically for solar light; these are more reliable and have a better lifespan than traditional rechargeable batteries. Keep your batteries in best condition by routinely wiping them down with a dry cloth to remove any accumulated dust.


Although solar garden lights work best in bright and sunny days they should also emit light after cloudy days as well, as long as the lights have a capacity for energy storage. Panels will still collect UV rays on cloudy days, but it will likely be insufficient to completely light the equipment. The light output will likely be dimmer than normal.

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About the Author

Lauren Thomason has written professionally since 2011 for online publications such as eHow. She is an avid gardener and crafter, history buff and science experiment fanatic. She holds a Master of Science in elementary education and is pursuing a Doctor of Education from Liberty University.