Solar Lights Are Not Working – How To Fix Outdoor Solar Panel Lighting

My outdoor solar lights in my garden are not working properly. They are new and I have had them for a few days. I have looked at the batteries and checked the solar panel. What can cause problems with solar lights not working? What can I check or adjust to make my solar lights turn on at night.

Solar Lights Are Not Working - How To Fix Outdoor Solar Panel Lighting 1Solar Lights Are Not Working
How To Fix Outdoor Solar Panel Lighting

NOTE: Usually when solar powered lights do not work properly, the is caused from a rechargeable battery failure. Simply change the rechargeable batteries with new batteries. (This common type of solar light fault occurs in all solar lights including string, flagpole, walkway, motion sensor, and solar garden lights)

13 Ways To Get Solar Panel Powered Lights Working

1. Are the solar lights turned ON?
Solution: Check the ON/OFF switch on the solar light and be sure it is turned ON. Some solar lights are turned on by pushing a small button (in a small hole) using a small piece of metal such as a paperclip. See pictures below.

Solar Light ON OFF SwitchSolar Light ON OFF Switch – Use Paperclip In Small Hole

Solar Light Normal ON OFF SwitchSolar Light (Normal) ON OFF Switch

2. Have you covered the motion sensor or solar panel on some models with your hand to see if the solar light illuminates?
Solution: Put your hand over the motion sensor or solar panel on some models to see if the light turns on. If not, check the batteries and the ON/OFF switch.

3. Is the solar light motion sensor or DAY/NIGHT sensor working?
Solution: Check the solar light motion sensor or solar panel on some models to be sure there is no sticker or something obstructing it. The other issue is the light may be installed too low to the ground where it cannot sense when something passes by. Install the light in a higher position. Also, try removing the batteries for 10 minutes to reset the complete light to get the light and sensor working properly.

Light Sensor - Day Night Motion SensorLight Sensor – Day Night – Motion Sensor

4. Is there a pull tab on the battery?
Solution: To save battery life, when the solar light is shipped, the manufacturer uses a small tab in between the battery and the battery terminal. If your solar light has this tab, it needs to be taken out for the light to illuminate.

5. Is the battery installed correctly?
Solution: Be sure the battery or the batteries are installed correctly. Open the battery panel and inspect the installation of the batteries to be sure the + and are correct with the batteries in the battery terminals.

6. Are the batteries charged or dead?
Solution: If you have a battery indicator, use it to test the batteries to see if they are working properly. Use normal alkaline batteries as a test to see if the light illuminates, if the light illuminates you know the batteries in the solar light need to be replaced with new rechargeable batteries.

7. Is the solar panel clean so it can absorb the sunlight?
Solution: Dirt, dust, or mud may be on the solar panel, therefore it cannot absorb the sun’s energy and charge the batteries. On some models the lights may blink because the DAY/NIGHT sensor is built into the solar panel. Clean the solar panel with a non corrosive cleaner to resolve this problem.

Solar Panel On Top Of Solar LightSolar Panel On Top Of Solar Light – Keep Clean!
Some solar panel lights have the DAY/NIGHT light sensor located on the solar panel

8. Is the solar panel facing the sun?
Solution: Be sure the solar panel is in a DIRECT position to receive solar rays, reposition the solar light so the solar panel is in DIRECT sunlight.

9. Is there is a tree, flowers, bushes, a sun umbrella, or other obstruction blocking the solar panel?
Solution: If something is blocking the solar panel, it may not be receiving the full amount of solar rays to charge up the rechargeable battery, reposition the solar light to a location where the sun shines on the solar panel without obstruction.

10. Are the rechargeable batteries in the solar panel light low on energy?
Solution: If so, turn the solar light off and let it sit in direct sunlight for 48 hours, after this time test the light to see if it illuminates.

11. Do you believe the rechargeable batteries are dead or faulty?
Solution: Replace the rechargeable batteries with new ones that are made specially for solar lighting.

12. Did you replace the rechargeable batteries and the light still does not work?
Solution: The solar light may be faulty, if possible, use a screwdriver and take the light apart. Check the wiring to be sure all the wires are attached and the solder points are not broken. Repair if possible.

13. Is the solar light still not working after battery replacement, repositioning, and checking the wiring?
Solution: The solar light may be faulty. Buying new solar lights may be the answer. When some outdoor solar lights are left outside in the sun for years, they will degrade and need to be replaced.

Solar Light Parts IllustrationSolar Light Parts Illustration

Other Common Solar Panel Light Questions

Where is the light sensor on a solar garden light?
Answer: The light sensor is usually located under the led light panel, if not look for a small “eye” or covered area. On some models, the sensor is located on the solar panel. To know exactly where the sensor is, during the day with sunlight, place your finger over the areas you believe to be the sensor, if the light turns ON, then you have located the sensor. (Some solar lights are Motion Activated, meaning an object needs to walk by it to trigger the light.)

My solar lights are on during the day, what causes this?
Answer: If your solar lights are on during the day, there may be an issue with the DAY/NIGHT sensor or the Motion Sensor. Check that nothing is blocking the sensor(s).

My solar string lights are not working, what is the problem?
Answer: Most likely the rechargeable batteries are at fault and probably not holding a charge. Check to be sure the solar panel is not blocked from the sun.

The solar lights have a blinking problem, why do they blink?
Answer: Dirt on the solar panel can affect charging the solar batteries. Clean off the solar panel. If the lights keep flashing simply replace the batteries and give them time to recharge. This should solve the issue.

What type of battery do solar lights use?
Answer: Most solar lights use rechargeable AA or rechargeable AAA batteries. This is different than an alkaline AA or AAA battery. You should always replace solar light batteries with similar rechargeable type batteries.

Have a problem with your solar lighting? Please leave a comment below with the type of issue you are having and we will assist.

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14 thoughts on “Solar Lights Are Not Working – How To Fix Outdoor Solar Panel Lighting”

  1. Christina Mojica

    Hello, I’m attempting to replace batteries in my backyard solar lights but I’m not able to remove the back cover due to the on/off switch. I removed all the perimeter screws, gently wedge up the cover all around but something (on/off) in the middle is holding the cover tightly in place. Any suggestions on how to get past this? Thank you

  2. I replaced old battery with new one but light stays on all the time and doesn’t wait until dark.

  3. Charlot J Rice

    I have the flickering solar lights, that look like a tiki torch when on. Looked awesome for two weeks . Came on at dark, and later about 5/6 hours. Now they might come on at dark, but only last about hour and half . They have beaned cleaned. Any suggestions?

  4. I have a solar post light, no bulb, no on and off switch and it does not turn on. I bought a charger and the battery was fine, but I put a new battery in and I cleaned the panel. The sensor still does not come on. I opened it up and it looked very clean and all the wires were connected. It gets full sun all day no obstructions. Any suggestions on why the light does not turn on? These lights are about 5 years old all the others are still working fine.

  5. batteries good, solar panels and motion sensor cleaned but light not coming on unless rocker switch turned on. Naturally turning switch on leaves lights on constantly.

  6. Christine Weldrick

    Hello, I am having trouble with my new out side solar security lights, they come on once, then they go back to off mode, just wondering if you have any idea why,

  7. I have 4 strings of solar lights with on off switch and remote. Previously, they all worked with one remote. Now, the lights all work, but one string of lights won’t respond to the remote.

  8. The light is charged properly, day and night sensor is also working.
    But once I switch it on it doesn’t turn on at night.

  9. i got paw prints solar lights … says to long press button to turn on/off ……which seems to work but they will not stay on ……there is a remote with set, but can’t seem to get it to work at all ……just put lights out a day ago ……could the solar panel not be charged up enough??

  10. My solar lights work perfectly (with new batteries fitted) but with three of them I have to switch them off and then back on to get them going. Once I do this they stay on fine.

  11. Hi. Just installed my new Innova outdoor latern.

    -I do not know if I need to leave the wall switch on for it to charge?
    – Or leave it off and it will work when charged at sunset?
    – can it work using the home electric supply?

  12. I bought new batteries for my porch post lights. They were working when I changed the batteries. A few days later they are not working. I’m not sure why

  13. Chris Edwards

    My solar lights only flash when motion is detected. They worked OK for a while, come on for 15 seconds then switch off (night time) . I recharged them in direct sunlight. The battery, Li-ion tests OK an fully charged. Any ideas??
    Lights are similar/same to the picture on the top of this page.

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