Can Solar Lights Be Left Out In The Rain? (We Find Out)

Are you wondering what happens if you leave your solar lights in the rain? In general, most solar lights are waterproof, but not all types of lights can endure a lot of water, and not all will be effective with cloudy weather. 

Solar lights are waterproof and water-resistant so you can leave them out in the rain. However, it is always necessary to verify the quality of each product and what they can endure. High-quality products are more likely to resist the rain.

This article will tell you all there is to know about solar lights and rain. 

Is It Okay To Leave Solar Lights Out In The Rain?

The best solar lights can withstand bad weather and rain, so it is okay to leave them out in the rain. Some manufacturers even produce outdoor solar lights, and the manufacturers build them with the idea that they must endure bad weather and even certain types of accidents. 

When solar lights are outside, there is always a danger that they get hit with snow, wind, rain, and even hailstorm. Therefore, some manufacturers have this in mind, but they are also more expensive if you want solar lights that are very resistant. 

Solar lights are generally water-resistant, preventing water from dripping inside and damaging the system. Water-resistant solar lights can withstand an average amount of water falling, but if you get waterproof solar lights, they are protected even if they fall into the water and get covered with it. 

But if the solar light is not waterproof, it is likely to get damaged by slipping into water o when completely soaked. 

How Do I Protect My Solar Lights From The Rain?

If you are concerned about your solar lights getting damaged by the weather, you can use a few strategies to ensure they last a long time and protect them. Here are a few tips to use:

Locate The Best Spots To Place Your Lights

It is not always easy, but one of the best ways to protect solar lights is to place them where they get the most protection from the weather and still get powered. 

Finding suitable locations could take a bit of time, but it can save you money and time later. This way, you do not have to figure out a way to protect your lights every winter or when there is a rainstorm. 

Finally, it can prevent your lights from breaking too often, so you must repurchase them. 

Protect The Solar Lights From The Worst Weather 

Although solar lights can resist rain, if the weather becomes too bad with storms or the weather forecast predicts a long period of rainfall, snow, or frost, you might consider protecting your solar light from damage.

If you want to prevent your solar light from being exposed to freezing weather or rain for long periods, you could remove them and store them in a dry place such as your garage or inside the house. 

It is enough if your solar light has solar cells built in them, but if you power them through separate solar panels, you should safeguard the wiring from freezing or soaking in water. 

Buy A Quality Product

One of the best guarantees that you will be able to protect your solar light under lousy weather is to purchase a quality product with durable materials and batteries. For example, it is better to get solar lights with lithium batteries for a chance to have them last longer. 

Most solar lights will be fine in a mild winter climate, but if you live in an area with harsh winters, then it is necessary to research which solar lights are in the market most suited for the more challenging climates. 

Do Not Let Solar Lights In The Water

If your lights are covered in snow or water for a long time, they can get damaged and begin to rust. It is happening because some parts of the lights are metal. Rust can be dangerous for solar lights because it can damage them permanently. 

Inspect your light to find out if they are in spots where they get soaked in water, often during rain or winter. If you find this situation, you should relocate solar lights is drier spots. 

Safeguard Your Solar Lights From Pets And Rodents 

The weather is not the only problem when you need to protect your solar lights. For example, if you have rodents and other pets in your yard or around the house, they can damage the light by chewing them. 

The yard needs to be free of rodents and pests, and you need to place the wires so they cannot be damaged. 

Regular Cleaning 

Regular cleaning can help safeguard, prolong your solar light’s life, and make the light brighter. However, dust and other dirt on the solar lights and the panels can affect their efficiency and shorten their life. 

It is a good habit to clean the lens and solar cells once in a while to keep solar lights in good shape. 

You should follow the manufacturer’s manuals when cleaning. Still, you should not use any chemicals, and it is necessary to be careful when cleaning the solar cells to avoid damaging them. (source)

Can Solar Lights Stay Out In Winter?

Some solar lights are designed and built to last through mild winters and can stay outside safely. Some can resist strong winds and snow. Depending on the weather in your area, you should select the solar kit that is more suitable to get through the winter in your geographical location. 

In general, you can understand that solar lights can stay outside during the winter if they have an “outdoor lights” rating or if it is stated explicitly in the packaging or the manual that you can place the lights outside. 

But even if your solar lights can stay outside during winter, the weather will affect the efficiency of solar lights. For example, batteries are more efficient if they operate with an average outdoor temperature of 70 °F. 

When the temperature is too low, the batteries must work harder to do their job. 

In Which Way The Winter Weather Can Affect Solar Lights? 

During winter, the days are shorter, and the batteries have less time to recharge. If the batteries cannot recharge fully, they can lose power faster and fail to provide energy to the solar lights at night. 

The cold weather might cause the batteries to lose efficiency and work at half their capabilities. On the other hand, if the weather is snowy, the solar panels or the solar cell can get covered or partially covered, blocking sunlight and thus energy production. The remedy is to shake off the snow from the lights and panels. (source)

Can I Charge Solar Lights In Winter? 

Solar lights work with direct sunlight, and when there is no sun, such as in the winter weather, they can still work with indirect sunlight. But, the batteries will take longer to charge, and the output is not as much as that of solar cells exposed to direct sunlight. (source)

Tips To Improve Solar Lights’ Efficiency During Winter

  • Clean the solar panels or solar cells
  • Adjust the position of the solar lights or solar panels
  • Charge solar lights with artificial lights

Removing blocks to sunlight from the solar panels is one of the best ways to increase efficiency. When the weather is cloudy, solar cells can still harvest solar energy, although not as much as on a bright sunny day. 

But dust and dirt cover solar lights and become even less efficient. The best way to clean a solar light is to use water and cloth to scrub the dirt without using chemicals that can damage the solar cells. 

In winter, you might need to reposition the solar lights or panels to orient them toward the sun. The sun is lower in the sky during winter, and you might need to change the orientation of the solar panels to get more energy output. 

Another option is to use artificial lighting to charge solar lights. You can place solar lights under the household lights or LED lights. 

How Do Solar Lights Work?

Solar lights work with a connection between solar panels (or solar cells on the lights), rechargeable batteries, and light bulbs. 

The solar cells or panels harvest sunlight and generate electricity that is stored in the rechargeable batteries, and the batteries are connected to the solar cells and panels through wires. At night the solar lights draw electricity from the batteries to provide light. 

The principle that makes solar lights work is the photovoltaic effect. 

Solar cells on the solar panels or solar lights contain several layers of crystalline silicon and other components that create negatively charged electrons and positively charged areas. 

When the sun hits, the cells excite the negatively charged electrons, which are pushed into the battery through a system of wires with the help of the positively charged areas. 

The battery charges in this way until it is dark. At night, a sensor detects when there is no sun and turns the light on using the power stored in the battery. (source)

How Do Solar Lights Get Used Today?

With solar energy becoming more affordable and widely used, solar lights have become a valid alternative to provide illumination for homes, public buildings, and private businesses. 

The advantages are cheap and renewable energy, independency from the grid, and low-maintenance energy. You can use solar lighting indoors and outdoor. For example, you can use it for the following things: 

  • Streets
  • Parking lots
  • Street signs
  • Garden or backyard lights

Other Usage Of Solar Energy

Solar lights provide a cheap way to light streets, parking lots, and other public areas. It is common to find a lamp post and a solar panel powering it. It makes the light independent from the grid and still able to function in an emergency.  

The extra benefit is the reduced impact on the environment and lower pollution. In addition, it is now possible to find solar-powered traffic lights, which provide additional security since they do not stop working with power outages. 

Similarly, solar energy powers billboards and street signs and are domestically valuable for illuminating gardens, patios, or backyards. But home interiors can also be lit by solar lights powered by solar panels.

What Are The Benefits Of Solar Lights?

Solar lighting comes with a lot of benefits. For example, it is:

  • Cost-effective
  • Eco-friendly
  • Require little maintenance

Solar energy is renewable. Solar lights work without burning fuel or requiring a constant usage of an energy source. Using solar energy in a backyard or outdoor doesn’t cost much in terms of installation or even purchasing the needed equipment.

In addition, solar lights, solar panels, and batteries could last for years, further reducing utilization costs. Finally, the installation doesn’t require underground conduits or complicated structures. 

Upon finishing the installation, there is virtually little maintenance required. The main job is to occasionally clean the lights and the panels and check if the wires are okay. But, the best part of solar lighting is the reduced energy bill through the years. 

What To Look For In Solar Lights? 

When getting solar lights, especially if you want them to be effective on rainy days, you have to look at crucial characteristics to determine if they are okay for you. 

Here are some of the main things to consider:

  • Brightness level
  • Quality of the materials and battery
  • How easily can it be installed
  • Battery durability

Brightness Level

You can find solar lights that can be dim or bright. Therefore, depending on your needs, you could choose brighter lights. It is common to believe that solar lights are not bright; however, it is a wrong concept since they can provide a lot of light too. You have to read the packaging to ensure they are powerful enough. 

Quality Of The Materials And Battery

The quality is essential since it is better to have lights that can last for years than buy new ones yearly or every couple of years. Unfortunately, replacing solar lights too often can be more expensive than buying a quality product that lasts longer, even if the initial investment is higher. 

Although plastic might seem cheap, it is better to have solar lights made primarily with plastic components instead of metal since they can be subject to rust. 

How Easily Can It Be Installed

You also want to find solar lights that are easy to install. It will allow a fast installation without waste of time and added complications. 

Battery Durability

The battery is a critical factor. You might need the solar light to have several hours of autonomy, and you want an efficient battery that doesn’t lose power. Batteries can be expensive to replace, so one should look for long-lasting batteries at purchase. 

What Is The Downside Of Solar Lights?

Solar lights are dependent on the weather and might not be so effective in lighting the area if they are not good quality and powerful lamps. Therefore, when you choose solar lights, you have to consider that there are times of the year you might not get enough power. 

If you connect the solar lights to solar panels, you might need a lot of space to set up the panels correctly to power all the required appliances and devices. 

In addition, if you get a good, durable solar light kit that can withstand even bad weather, you are looking at a substantial initial investment. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Solar Panel Cables Get Wet?

Solar panels cables can get wet during rainfall, but you should not submerge them in a pool of water. Once the rain has stopped, you must leave the wires to dry appropriately. Then, it would be best to ensure the cables are not damaged. Although the wires are waterproof, a lot of permanence in water can still create damage. 

Do Solar Panels Need To Be Waterproof?

Solar panels need to be waterproof so they can last for many years outside despite the type of weather. Solar panels are built with resistant materials so that water, dust, dirt, and debris cannot enter the system and damage it. As a result, solar panels can resist even the strongest storm or rain. 

Can Water Damage Solar Lights?

Solar lights can generally resist water, but if there is too much rain and the lights are soaked with water, some of it can drip inside and damage the system. Some waterproof solar lights can prevent water from entering the system, but if the weather is too bad, with strong winds and a lot of rain, the solar light may get damaged anyway.

Sources

  1. WikiHow, “How to charge solar lights without sun,” https://www.wikihow.com/Charge-Solar-Lights-Without-Sun, accessed June 17, 2022
  2. Wonderopolis, “How do solar lights work,” https://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-do-solar-lights-work, accessed June 17, 2022
  3. WikiHow, “How to clean solar lights,” https://www.wikihow.com/Clean-Solar-Lights, accessed June 17, 2022
  4. Wikipedia, “Solar Lamp,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_lamp, accessed June 17, 2022
  5. Bitponics, “Do outdoor solar lights work in winter? https://www.bitponics.com/outdoor-solar-lights-winter, accessed June 17, 2022
  6. Sortatechy, “Can You Leave Solar Lights Outside in the Winter?” https://sortatechy.com/can-you-leave-solar-lights-outside-in-the-winter/#:~:text=You%20can%20leave%20your%20solar%20lights%20outside%20during%20the%20winter,how%20well%20the%20lighting%20works, accessed June 17, 2022

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