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Solar Lights Not Working: 3 Simple Steps To Fix It

If you’re one of the people who have been using your solar light or lamps for some time now, then suddenly it stops working and now you’re trying to figure out the reasons why and if you could possibly fix it, this article will surely serve you well. 

However, if your item is totally new and isn’t working, it may be because the battery pull tab hasn’t been removed. The pull tab is usually located on the side of the battery compartment and must be removed before the batteries can make contact and power the light.

Always remember to test them before making a purchase. Going back to fixing your solar lights, just follow these three easy steps:

Step 1: Check the Products’ Warranty

Before you touch anything or any parts of the item with your hand, check if it is still under warranty. If yes, then go back to the shop where you bought it bring your warranty, and ask for a replacement. Some products have to be directed to the manufacturer directly though.

In this case, check the contact information of the manufacturer or brand customer service online.

If the product is no longer under warranty, then proceed to step 2.

Step 2: Check the Condition of the Solar Lights

Is It Covered With Dirt?

Dust, dirt, debris, or rain residue in most cases could be the reason why your solar lights are not working. The best course of action is to clean the solar lights and solar panels with the use of soft cloth.

Be sure to wipe gently and avoid using water, any harsh chemicals, or abrasives, as this can damage the solar lights or the LED bulbs. 

Is There Water Buildup?

Solar-powered things are allergic to any element of water. Problems are likely because they have been exposed to water. Solar lights rely on solar panels to absorb energy from the sun and convert it into electricity.

When the solar panel is exposed to water, it can short circuit and stop working. To fix this, you will need to dry off the solar panel and allow it to dry completely before using it again. However, some solar lights are totally waterproof.

This problem is common to outdoor solar lights used in the landscape, walkway, driveway, or those Christmas string lights and flood lights. 

Is It Located in a Less Sunny Area?

True to its name solar lights performance is highly dependent on the amount of sunlight it receives as the sun is its ultimate source of energy. The problem with this idea is that issues could arise if they are not in the right spot or position or if the environment is not conducive to good lighting. 

Solar lights need to be in a sunny place or location where there is a lot of sun and not in the shade of trees, covered by shadows, or in dark areas. Additionally, check the angle, they may not be pointing directly at the sun.

Another thing is that not all models work well in all weather conditions. If it is cloudy or if the temperature is too cold, it may result in low light or not producing light at all.

The best way to fix this is to look for a better location and redo the installation. Check your manufacturer’s website for available instructions. This problem is common for solar lights used around the deck and patio.

If still, none of these work then proceed to step 3.

Step 3: Check the Parts of Your Solar Light

Solar lights are a great way to light up your streets, home or garden without having to worry about running electrical wires. However, solar lights can stop working if any of their parts are defective.

Try to check the following components, their common sources of issue, basic tips, and solutions to this problem below. 


Often times solar lights not working could simply be because of a dirty battery compartment. Over time, dust and dirt can build up, causing a decrease in the battery’s ability to hold a charge.

This can be easily fixed by cleaning out the battery compartment with a cloth or brush.  Another cause is that the battery is not properly charged. Batteries will naturally self-discharge over time, so it’s important to keep an eye on the charge level and top off the batteries to extend battery life.

If the batteries are not kept properly charged, they will eventually reach a point where they can no longer hold a charge. Lastly, when the battery reaches the end of its life capacity, the solar light will no longer work.

There are a few ways to extend the lifespan of your solar light’s battery, but eventually, it will need to be replaced. The best solution is to replace with a couple of NiMH and Li-ion modern type batteries that can extend the operation of your solar lights for several years.


Sensors are the ones responsible for detecting when it is dark, or when there is motion and activating the lights like a switch but unlike switches, there is no wiring or complex wire circuitry. If this part is not working properly, the lights will not come on.

You can try cleaning the sensor with a soft cloth to see if that solves the problem. If not, you may need to purchase a new one and replace the sensor. 

Final Thoughts

Having solar lights that are not working could be a problem but solutions are most often simple. It might just need a bit of cleaning and maintenance like all devices do. Most solutions cost nothing but your time.

Moreover, if your solar lights, lamp posts, and street lights are properly maintained, your house and alleys will never fall into darkness again.