If you recently purchased some LED solar lights or are thinking of buying one, you must wonder how long do solar lights last?
So, if you are looking for an in-depth answer, then this article is especially for you.
In an age where almost everything is disposable, high-quality lights stand out in that they are built to last –– providing value for years after purchase.
Whether you’re in the process of designing outdoor lighting for the front of your house, want to give your garden a quiet space, or want to add some lights for the path… You may be wondering – if solar lights will last long enough to be worth the cost compared to some traditional electric outdoor lights that may be cheaper.
Below, we’ll answer some of the frequently asked questions people have when considering buying lights and some tips on how to maximize the life of your lights to make them even more worthwhile.
How long do solar lights last?
The short answer is 1-5 years depending on many factors such as the type of lamp, weather, quality, usage, and many more.
However, to correctly answer your question, here is a list of the lifespan of the three main parts of solar light:
Solar power panels
Solar LED panels to lose their effectiveness over time depending on three factors: usage, conversion efficiency, and year-over-year decline inefficiency.
For example, a monocrystalline panel has a conversion efficiency of about 20% and an average output loss of 0.8% a year. This means that within the next 29.3 years, the panel will be worthless.
In general, most panels are very long, with more than 15 years of use
On average, the batteries of your outdoor solar lights can last about 3-4 years before you need to replace them.
The life of a rechargeable battery is determined by the number of charge cycles. In other words, how many times do you fully charge the battery before fully discharging it.
Different types of batteries have different life cycles. For example, Lithium-ion batteries can last up to 1000 cycles while Nickel-cadmium batteries can last up to 1500 cycles.
It’s important to mention that although a Nickel-cadmium battery has a lifespan of up to 1500 cycles, it loses memory meaning the battery loses its ability to charge over time.
For example, a 1500 mAh Nickel-cadmium battery will only be able to charge 1000 mAh over time and so on.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
LED lights have a lifespan of 50,000 hours so if we assume your solar-powered lights will work 8 hours a day, that leaves you with an expected lifespan of 17 years.
Several factors can affect the lifespan of solar lights
First, their position about other artificial light may reduce or enhance their lifespan. Ensure your lights are placed in direct sunlight from the street or home lighting, as getting too close can damage the sensors making them work in low light.
In addition to their location, the cleanliness of the panels can also be a factor in maintaining sunlight. Especially if you place the lights near your garden or another often dirty area, be sure to clean the panels every week so they get enough sunlight.
While most lighting systems are designed to withstand different weather and climates, they work best when they can receive direct sunlight all day long and there is no danger of rain or shine—blown by the great wind. If you’re concerned about the weather affecting your lights at specific times of the year, consider storing them away during this period.
How long do solar lights stay on?
If your outdoor lights get enough sunlight for a full charge (usually around 6-8 hours), they should be able to light the whole evening.
Sometimes the lights will stay on longer or shorter, the problem can often be with how well the panels can absorb light. Again, checking to ensure that your lights are in the optimal location (in direct sunlight, away from shadows or covered by trees) can help ensure they are working at their best.
If you are concerned that the batteries in the lights are being overused, consider setting a timer for the lights or turning them off/storage for some time. You may also want to experiment with a few different locations before deciding on a permanent fixture for your lights.
5 ways to increase the life of your solar lights
Not everyone has the time to research and also little information about this type of lamp. Therefore, I have put together my top 5 tips to make solar lights last longer, increasing their lifespan. Owning a lamp for outdoor lighting can make everything more beautiful and more accessible than ever!
1. Avoid placing your lights in other street light areas:
Make sure to avoid placing lights in certain areas, specifically street lights, to help detect low light levels. Doing so allows for efficient lighting. Besides, lights are often placed around in the outdoor garden to help increase the beauty of this area at night. Sometimes lights can also help keep other outside intruders out of your home. Note that they are prone to dust and dirt, making it harder to get enough power.
2. Regularly clean the solar panel of the lamp:
Like other rechargeable products, regular cleaning of solar panels allows them to maintain good energy harvesting for a much longer lighting time. For a proper cleaning procedure, you should use a cloth to wipe the surface of each panel approximately every two weeks. That’s the way to ensure that the lights can work at their best.
With that said, some lights have been designed with a high IP rating, well equipped to deal with extreme weather conditions. Note that cold temperatures can be a slight factor in battery life. In addition, less daylight and longer nights also affect the lights.
With the weather conditions of the water, this problem is not a big obstacle, you can feel secure when placing outdoor lights, not as complicated as countries with snowfall. Once every few months or when the light shows signs of fading, it is recommended to clean the panels by wiping off the dust and dirt on them.
3. Use glossy paint to protect the lamp:
Another essential thing to do if you want to make your solar lights shine longer is glossy paint. Most lights are made of plastic, the light part will tend to become slightly opaque, blurred, scratched …. In this case, consider using high-gloss paint to clean and protect the lamp from that condition.
Use a glossy finish, it’s something worth trying, showing you how your lights still look new.
4. Storing your lights indoors in winter:
Not many people understand that storing lights inside the house in cold temperatures will make the battery life longer. This is also considered the most significant disadvantage when using solar lights, on rainy days, no energy is obtained. You only use this solution when you are in the central or northern region because the seasons are clearly distinguished in this place.
5. On frequent rainy days, turn off the light switch (OFF)
Turning off the lights on rainy days can help prolong the battery’s life stored inside the lights. Lamps with glass are susceptible to damage by extreme weather, such as high winds or storms. For this reason, they need to be stored indoors for optimal protection.
Everyone wants to increase the life of the lamp, wants the same lighting efficiency as the original, but this is a difficult thing, we want to make sure to increase that ratio. The above instructions are some solutions you should follow.