How To Make Solar Lights Brighter: A 10 Step Guide

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Tired of your solar lights not shining as brightly as they should? Do you want to ensure your lights are bright enough to read in your garden at night? Wondering why your newly purchased lights are dim? Then we have just the guide for you!

Solar lights are a fantastic environmentally friendly option for any garden design, but even the best are prone to losing brightness over time.

Thankfully, there is a range of easy ways you can help improve the brightness of your lights today. Read on to discover exactly how to make solar lights brighter!

Top 10 Tips To Make Solar Lights Brighter

Solar lights can compete with some of the best traditional lighting fixtures out there. But what if they start to dim?

Below you will find our top 10 tips to help you improve the brightness of any solar lights you may own!

1. Select The Best Location For Your Solar Lights

An often-overlooked solution to a dim or poorly lit solar path light is to find a new place to install it. As almost all power supplied to your outdoor solar lights is through solar power, the position of the panel is vital to your light’s brightness.

A solar panel placed in the open with no trees or plants covering the panel will receive sunlight far easier than an obstructed location.

This will help your lights shine a lot brighter and is a magnificent idea if you are struggling to figure out why your lights are dim.

Consider taking a look around your garden to find the best place to install your solar lights. Ensuring your garden lights absorb enough sunlight is the best way to keep your light shining brightly throughout the night.

2. Regularly Clean The Solar Panel

A solar panel is only as effective as the amount of solar power it can absorb. This is why we recommend that you clean your solar panel frequently. This will help to prevent dirt and other debris building up on the lights solar panel.

If a solar panel is covered with dirt or dust, then the light from the sun will not be able to reach the solar panels’ photovoltaic cells. This essentially means your light will be lacking enough energy at night to switch on and light up your garden.

You can clean your solar panels a few ways, but we would recommend a simple sponge and water. Soap can leave streaks that will impact the amount of solar energy your panel will absorb. No matter what solar garden lights you own, we would suggest cleaning the panels at least once a week!

3. Replace Solar Cell Covers

One of the most important parts of any solar garden lights fixture is the solar cell cover. Beneath this cover is the solar panel, which is the main power source for solar lights. However, like any piece of hardware, this can become damaged over time.

As direct sunlight needs to pass through the solar cell cover to reach the photovoltaic cells, it will need regular care. Before you fully replace any covers, try to clean them with a soap and water mixture, as this could be the main reason why your solar lights aren’t as bright as they can be.

However, if this doesn’t work, you may need to fully replace your solar cell covers. This is usually a fairly easy process as most lights are designed to accommodate replacement covers. Different lights will require a different replacement method, so if you get lost, be sure to read the user manual!

4. Clean The Light Casing

This applies to all types of garden lights. If your light lacks brightness, it may simply be because the light casing itself is dirty.

As garden lights will usually spend a large amount of their existence in the great outdoors, they can quickly gather dirt. If enough dirt gathers, then the light from the light-emitting diode will struggle to pierce through the casing.

Dirty casing can either lead to dim light or no light at all. When cleaning your light, we recommend disconnecting it from any terminals, if applicable, and trying to use a soft scrubbing tool. Ideally, a soft sponge and a light cleaning agent will usually be more than enough to get the job done.

If you are struggling with dim lights, then cleaning the casing may very well be the solution you are looking for. Regardless, we would recommend cleaning your solar light casing frequently to avoid this issue arising further down the road.

5. Replace Old Bulbs

If the light of your solar light is dimmer than it usually is, there are usually two main things that can be the cause. Either the solar panels aren’t absorbing enough solar energy, or the bulb itself is dying. There are a variety of other factors, but these two are the easiest to check quickly.

Ideally, you will want to ensure you have a large backup of spare bulbs for your solar lights. This way, if the light appears to be faulty or old, then you can switch it up without needing to drive to your local hardware store.

Like any other light-based product, a solar garden light will require a new bulb every few months. Make sure you find the same bulb used in your particular chosen light, as there can be some variation between bulbs.

6. Check And Replace Batteries

Much like old bulbs impacting solar lights, old or faulty batteries can also largely impact the performance of your solar light. A battery that is low on juice or just faulty won’t be able to use its absorbed solar power to provide enough power to the bulb.

This will lead to the lamp simply not working or offering enough light to illuminate your garden at night. A new battery will help ensure your solar path lights will emit enough brightness and will even improve their lifespan.

If you ever notice the brightness of your solar light begins to wane, then consider adding a fresh battery to your lights. Be sure to check the user manual to see exactly how you replace the current battery.

7. Check The Connection Terminals

Some solar light designs will connect to a central terminal to access any solar electricity produced. If your chosen fixture does feature a terminal, then you will want to make sure that all connections are solid.

It is extremely easy for a connection to be knocked out of place due to high winds or even rain. This is why we suggest you check your connection terminal whenever there has been a storm or similar bad weather.

Most connections are thankfully extremely easy to put back into place, so you won’t need to invest in specialist electrician tools. But it is always worth checking that all connections are securely in place.

8. Contact Brand Support

Sometimes, an issue with your solar lights might be too complicated for you to fix yourself. There are lots of problems that could be occurring inside your solar light. One of the best solutions for this is to contact your light manufacturer’s support.

Most light manufacturers will offer a support call-line to help you determine the cause of your light’s dimness. If the issue is too serious, they may even offer you a full refund or replacement on your set of solar garden lights.

If all else fails, and the issue with your solar light seems beyond you, then the brand support line is there to help. Don’t hesitate, as the fix may be something extremely simple that you overlooked. On top of this, most support lines are free, so there’s truly no reason not to give them a call.

9. Monitor Sunlight Exposure

Maximizing solar lights exposure is extremely important, especially if you want your light to shine as brightly as possible. A great way to check that your light is receiving enough direct sunlight is to monitor how much sunlight exposure it has access to.

Different lights will require differing amounts of exposure to get the best results. Try to match up exactly how many hours your specific solar light needs to how much it receives. Typically, a solar light will require anywhere around 4-6 hours of sunlight exposure to stay lit throughout the night.

Always remember that the Earth doesn’t stay in one place throughout the day -if a branch isn’t in the way at 2 PM, it may end up obstructing the light at 4 PM. A great way to ensure the highest levels of sunlight exposure is to install your lights in an open and high area.

10. Invest In High Quality Solar Garden Lights

Although many cheaper products on the market are fantastic, some simply can not compete with high-quality options.

A premium solar light will usually feature higher quality light-emitting diodes, which can lead to brighter light.

The solar panels found on higher-quality lights will also tend to use premium photovoltaic cells. These will absorb more sunlight and can even generate more battery power for your solar lights in general. A premium light manufacturer tends to squeeze out more from their lights than cheaper variants.

There is, of course, the negative that a premium set of lights will cost substantially more than a cheaper set of garden lights. But if you don’t mind splashing out and you want the best you can get, we would recommend you check out some pricier lighting alternatives!

How To Make Solar Lights Brighter FAQ

How Long Do Cheaper Solar Lights Last?

The length of a solar light will depend entirely on its durability and how well you take care of it. Typically, you can expect that most cheap solar lights will last months to years as they are usually built to last.

When finding the right solar lights for you, consider investing in a more durable product. The initial cost will be slightly higher, but they will last far longer. This will save you a lot more money in the long run!

Should I Be Checking Sunlight Exposure Before Buying A Solar Light?

Before you splash out on a premium set of lights, you will want to make sure your garden receives enough sunlight to power them. If your garden has access to at least 4-6 hours of sunlight exposure, then a solar light will be the perfect light for you.

Try to find a set of lights that requires the same amount of sunlight exposure as your garden offers. This way, you won’t run into any issues further down the road.

Does It Make A Difference Which Way The Solar Panel Faces?

The direction of your solar panel will make a massive difference in how bright its light will be at night. As solar panels require large amounts of sun exposure to power the light, the more exposure they get, the longer and brighter they will shine.

Ideally, you will want to find a clear space where your light solar panel can point directly up towards the sun. This way, they can absorb as much solar energy as possible due to the direct sunlight and offer you a more illuminating experience.

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Eric Thomas

Eric is the founder of the Simple Solar Living team and serves as our CEO & Chief Solar Officer. He is passionate about solar powered products and DIY solar projects, and took part in the Solar Energy Technician program at Bryan University. Eric is committed to sharing the benefits of going solar and is a steadfast advocate of clean renewable energy.