Solar lights are a great way to get power anywhere at night, as long as you have the sun to power them during the day. But how do solar lights work? Do solar lights have batteries in them?
Solar lights have batteries in them, which they need to store the energy from the sun. If solar lights did not have batteries, they would only work when the sun is shining. They wouldn’t light up when there is no sunlight or at night since they would have no stored power to light them up.
This article explains why solar lights have batteries and how the batteries work. I will also explain how solar lights work.
Why Do Solar Lights Have Batteries?
Solar lights would not work without batteries inside them. The small solar panels on the solar lights collect sunlight during the day and convert it to power. However, in daylight, the solar lights do not need to be on. Instead, they store the converted energy for when it gets dark when they will be needed to provide light.
Thus, the power converted from sunlight ends up getting stored in the battery until it is required. The solar panels on the solar lights continue to collect and convert power until the battery fills up.
However, without a battery, the solar lights would not be able to store the energy they need to power the lights, thus they would not work. The lights would only work during the day when sunlight gets into the solar panels, thereby powering them.
But, as soon as sunlight goes away, the solar lights would stop working since they wouldn’t have power stored within. So, without a battery, solar lights are quite useless.
There are different solar lights with different run times based on where you are using them. If you live somewhere with a lot of sunlight, you will get the maximum amount of light from your solar light every night since the battery will be full by the time the sun goes down.
On the other hand, if you live somewhere with less sun, it is winter, or your solar light is in the shade for part of the day, the run time might end up being lower. A lower run time means you have less power stored in your battery, and you will have a dim light at night, or the light will not stay lit for as long.
How Do Batteries in Solar Lights Work?
Now that you know why the batteries in solar lights are important, let’s look at how they actually work to power the solar lights.
Along with the batteries in a solar light is a solar cell. The solar cell is what collects the light into the solar light and converts it into energy.
The light from the sun is made up of small particles called photons. When light from the sun shines on the solar panel, the photons get absorbed into the panel. The electrons in the solar panel cell are moved through the battery circuit when the photons hit it.
The motion of the elections is what creates the power which is stored in the battery. The battery will hold power from the converted sun photons until it gets dark, and the light needs the power in the battery to work.
As the battery power gets used up, the electrons return to the power cell to await more photons from the sun to convert them to more power.
Without a battery, the electrons would power the light as soon as the light photons hit the solar panel and return to the cell. This process would repeat until the sun goes down, and no power would be stored to light the solar lights at night.
For an even more detailed look into how solar cells work, check out this video from Illinois EnergyProf on Youtube:
How Do Solar Lights Work?
Finally, let’s look at how the solar lights themselves work. The battery is an important part of how solar lights work, but there are also other parts to the lights.
Solar panels on the solar lights collect sunlight and convert it to energy using the battery and the cell, as I explained in the previous section. Whenever the sun or any light is shining on the solar lights, they collect the light until the battery is full or the light stops shining.
At night when no light is shining on the solar panel, the solar light is activated to turn on. A controller in the light controls the discharge of power from the battery to the light.
Without the controller, the battery would not discharge power at the right speed. The incorrect discharge would either lead to the light not being bright enough or the light being powered at too high a discharge and either breaking or running out of power too fast.
The solar light stays on until the battery dies, or the light returns, like in the morning when the sun rises. Then, the sun will recharge the battery once again until it is full, or the sun goes down, and the whole process repeats itself.
For a visual explanation of how solar lights work, check out this video by TED-Ed. Solar lights have solar panels on them that work to collect light and convert it to power, just like they do in this video:
Solar lights use batteries to store the power converted from the sun. Without a battery to store the converted power, they would only work when the sun is shining on them and not at night when they actually need the power to work. You also need a solar light and battery with a run time sufficient for your lighting conditions. This is because some lights will not work as well in areas with less sunlight or in the winter season.
- Energy Storage Explained: How Does A Solar Battery Work?
- SEPCO: How Do Solar-Powered LED Lights Work?
- Department of Energy: Outdoor Solar Lighting
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