Why Do Solar Lights Come On During The Day?

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Solar lights are an example of how technology is evolving throughout the years. That mankind has discovered a way to utilize the pure energy of the sun is a true marvel.

We still have a ways to go before achieving true technological perfection. Such a new invention is sure to be slightly faulty, and this can show every now and then.

One of the issues that can be quite frustrating is wondering why solar lights come on during the day when they’re supposed to work only through the nighttime. Let’s find out.

Five Reasons Why Solar Lights Come on During the Day

A solar panel is a complex build, and many of its components can malfunction, much like any other tech piece. Generally speaking solar lights work pretty well.

However, the issue is not always with the device itself; there are a number of external factors to consider too


We’ll start easy. Before thinking anything might be wrong with your solar lights, have you checked the settings?

Most solar lights have adjustable settings. Try recalibrating them to see if it can make a difference. Specifically, have a look at the sensitivity setting for the light sensor.

The sensor is usually the core of the lighting problem, as it controls when the solar lights come on and off. It works by determining external lighting levels. When it’s dark, it makes the solar lights come on. When it’s bright, they turn off.

If the sensitivity setting is set to high, this may cause the lights to come on whenever the sensor picks up a hint of shade. See if you have accidentally cranked up the sensitivity. The knob is usually labeled “Lux.”

Another setting issue is related to the override switch. If this is active, it’ll cause the solar lights to remain on regardless of external lighting factors. Simply turning it off should resolve the situation.


The location of the solar panel might be too shaded. If the sensor doesn’t sense sufficient light, it’ll assume it’s nighttime and activate the lights.

Be sure the panel is getting ample sunlight. Interior lights should be placed by unshaded windows during the daytime. External lights should be placed higher than any other elements that may cast shadows on them.


More often than not, the problem could be because the sensor itself is obstructed by something. Check to see if the sensor’s surface is dusty or smudgy, as this may cause it to interpret it as dark outside.

If this is the case, cleaning the sensor, and the solar panel itself, is quite simple. Wiping the two with a slightly damp paper towel should do the trick. You can use a small amount of detergent for a thorough cleaning, but not too much as this can leave patches of dried soap on the surface.

You don’t want to use too much water either, and we’ll see why below.

Water Penetration

Good solar lights have an IP (Ingress Protection) ratings of IP44, IP65, or IP67. This rating determines how well the device withstands exposure to moisture.

If your IP rating is less than the ratings above, water exposure may be the problem. It can cause the device to malfunction.

If your device is still under warranty, you should contact the manufacturer regarding this issue, but if the warranty has expired, we can walk you through how to handle this by hand.

Carefully dismantle the removable parts of the device and softly wipe away any evident moisture. Afterward, leave it to dry thoroughly. Once done, reassemble the device and allow it to charge for a full day, then see if it works.

If you’re not confident with attempting this yourself, you can always call an expert to ensure nothing is damaged in the process.

Faulty or Damaged Devices

Firstly, of course, you should check to see if the sensor is damaged. Perhaps it was pushed too hard, or the wires have become exposed. Naturally, you should contact the manufacturer if you’re under warranty for any damage to any component of the device.

If this isn’t possible, you may have to try your hand at repairing the lights yourself. Faulty wires can be managed carefully with tape. Yet, if the damage is more extensive, maybe you need a professional to assess the situation or replace the sensor altogether.

There may be issues with other parts as well, such as the solar panel or the battery. Having an expert examine them can determine the problem. If they’re beyond repair, they might need to replace them. Be sure to get parts correctly compatible with your solar lights.

Related Reading: Malibu Solar Lights Reviews

Wrap Up

Solar lights are highly environment-friendly and a good investment. Throwing them away when they malfunction is definitely a last-resort scenario.

The issues related to the daylight lighting can be as trivial as a settings problem, but even the biggest of complications, such as parts’ replacement, is quite cheap.

We hope this article helped show you where the problem may lie and how to solve it.

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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.