Why Do My Solar Lights Come on During the Day

Is your solar light faulty, and you don’t have any idea what’s going on? No worries! Here’re some DIY tips to save your solar light and make it work again.

solar garden light


Solar lights are automatic and eco-friendly lighting devices. They are set to turn off automatically when it senses the fresh start of dawn. Solar cells will then work their way during the day to convert sunlight to energy. When the night comes, the LED light uses the current stored in batteries to illuminate the streets and pathways.

You might already know that these solar equipment parts don’t come very cheap like regular lighting systems. You would definitely want to spare your solar light from going to the trash if it’s not working.

Spare your grievances as in this article, we’re going to explore why your solar lights stay on during the day. We’ll also guide you on how to troubleshoot, repair and maintain them.

Why Do My Solar Lights Not Work?

If your solar light frequently turns on during the daytime or malfunctions, it might be that the sensor is blocked, faulty or its sensitivity setting is high.

The sensor is a crucial part of your solar light. It senses the light being received by the panels and tells it to stop working when it’s night time. So it’s the immediate solar light part to protect or check when finding out why it comes on during the day.

But if there’s nothing wrong with the sensor, perhaps it’s the battery, controller, solar panel or the circuit wiring.

These are just the common assumptions about this issue, but there can be a lot more than that.

How Do I Fix My Solar Lights?

woman fixing solar lights


Here are some of the reasons why they don’t work well during daytime and what you can do about it.



Immediate Solutions


(Anyone can do it)

Shadows Blocking the Panels

  • Locate them somewhere else where they can get direct sunlight.
  • Keep them away from shades of trees, tall objects, and houses.

They are Indoors, But They Don’t Get Enough Sunlight

  • Open the windows or curtains.
  • Change locations.

Light Sensor/panel is dusty

  • Clean the light sensor
  • Keep Them Away from Dusty Areas

Sensitivity Level is Set at High Level

  • Readjust to the right settings.

Override Switch is Switched On

  • Turn it off.

Light Duration Setting Takes Too Long to Switch Off

  • Readjust to the right settings.


(Need the attention of someone more knowledgeable)

Clogged With Water

  • Remove the water, clean it, and let the parts dry.
  • If still under warranty, ask for a replacement from the manufacturer.

Flickering solar lights

  • Check Faulty Wiring, but do not open it if it’s still under warranty. Instead, ask the manufacturer.
  • Check wiring continuity.
  • Check the LED.


 (Need the attention of the manufacturer or technician)

Faulty or Damaged Sensor

  • If still under warranty, ask for a replacement from the manufacturer.
Faulty or Damaged Battery
  • Clean the Battery Contacts
  • Replace Your Battery
  • Worst case scenario, ask the manufacturer

10 Reasons Why Your Solar Powered Lights Turn On During the Day

1. You Placed Them Somewhere That’s Shady

When you place your automatic solar light somewhere that projects an overcast on its panel, it will assume that it’s night time. This will prompt the solar panel to stop working and will automatically turn on the LED light even if it’s still day time.

The solution is simple.

Locate your outdoor solar light where it can get direct sunlight and away from shadows.

Or at least put it somewhere high enough that’s shadow-free so it can fully recharge for 4 to 12 hours with direct light. For solar garden lights, solar yard lights and pathway lights, this can be easy as they are usually lightweight. You can easily relocate them.

If you larger lighting units such as solar street lights or solar pole lights that are difficult to frequently change locations, you can do one of the following:

Change the angle of the solar panel so it can harness more energy.

solar panel light different angle to get more light
Photo Credit: HeiSolar Moon Light

Solar street lights and some solar garden lights are provided with a remote control device so you can conveniently maneuver the direction of its parts.

Relocate the solar panel.

Split-type solar street lights have their solar panel separated from the lighting fixture. Hence, you can relocate the solar panel where it can receive an ample amount of bright light, away from shadows.

Choose a Stable Location Where You Can Permanently Settle Your Solar Street Light.

Some integrated/all-in-one solar street lights have easy-to-transport designs that can easily be relocated. Choose a perfect spot to place these lights if you found out that its current location is not suitable for it to work properly.

2. They Don’t Get Enough Sunlight Indoors

solar lights indoors cant get enough sun
Photo credits from 12 Power Outage Hacks That Will Help You Brave the Next Winter Storm

Indoor solar lights are usually placed near windows to charge because the sun hits window panes. However, it might not be placed good enough to receive direct sunlight that’s why they stay on during the day.

The solutions are, again, a no-brainer.

Keep the windows and curtains open

If you found out that it’s not charging, try opening the windows or curtains. Even though the window is transparent and the sun can get through easily, it’s still more efficient when the panels get sunlight directly without any obstructions.

Change the location of your solar light

If the previous solution didn’t work, put them outside to charge. Then bring them back in if you need them.

3. Light Sensor/Solar Panel is Dirty

The solar light’s sensor is one of the major reasons why most solar lights come on during the day. As outdoor solar lights are exposed in harsh and dusty conditions, there is a huge possibility that your sensor is blocked with dust.

Fixing this won’t need a muscle to do it. That is, when we are talking about smaller solar lighting units. However, if you’re dealing with solar high masts or a 10-ft solar street light, you might need to call an expert to do this for you.

Locate and Clean the Sensor and Solar Panel

  • Where to find the light sensor in solar lights?

You can easily locate it somewhere near the solar panel. Look for a small circular shape that has a wave drawn across it.

Use a clean damp cloth to wipe the solar panel and the motion sensor eye. Do not use soap as it may leave patches on the surface, blocking the faces of these components.

Test the Solar Light’s Functionality After Cleaning

Once you finish and they are dried, assemble them back in place. Use a light object such as a cardboard plate to cover the panel and see if the light turns on. Then remove the cardboard and see if the light turns off automatically after a 1 minute.

Keep Them Away from Dusty Areas

To minimize maintenance, try to place your solar lights away from dusty areas.

If at this point, your lights are still faulty, either the sensor is completely damaged or the battery is probably the culprit. But first, try to check the system settings if it’s set right before concluding anything. In the next paragraphs, we’ll show you how.

4. Light Sensitivity Settings Might Be Set at High Level

solar light sensor white with lines
Photo credit: Popular Science

This setting determines how dark it would be before your solar light should activate. At some instances, you might have set it at the highest level of sensitivity. This translates that even the slightest bit of shadow can trigger the light to turn on. Even the shadows of fireflies can trip the sensor.

Set it back to its appropriate level

The common solar flood lights usually have this knob for adjusting the light sensitivity level. Typically, it’s labeled as a “Lux” dial. If you’re not sure about the setting, you can refer to the manufacturer’s manual.

solar sensor with lux dial for light sensitivity adjustment

5. Override Switch is Switched On

The override switch in outdoor solar lights override the light sensor by letting the light stay on even if it is not dark outside. Most people turn this on in solar security lights so they are left on until daylight.

Turn off the override switch.

You may have accidentally turned this on so your solar light won’t turn off during day time.

6. Light Duration Setting Takes Too Long to Switch Off

Some solar light brands have this kind of setting or knob. It basically commands the solar light to remain on after the sensor triggers the light to switch off. when the light sensors are tripped. This ranges from ten seconds to, at most, an hour.

Readjust the Light Duration Setting

Try readjusting this setting to a minute. Then test it again if the solar light can switch off automatically by itself.

If none of these readjustment methods have worked, this means you’re facing a more serious issue with your faulty solar lights.

7. Water/Moisture Penetration

If it’s not the dirt that’s causing the problem, it might be because of the moisture or water penetration in the system.

Solar powered lights typically have IP ratings stamped on it’s specification sheet or body. High quality manufactured solar lights usually have IP ratings of IP44, IP65, IP66, IP67 and IP68. These ratings are identified as ‘waterproof’ and should be able to prevent water penetration.

For example, solar street lights with an IP65 to IP68 ratings should be able to drain the water from the inside without affecting core parts and electronics.

However, some lights might have been poorly manufactured, letting the water in. Even a little water can cause your solar light to malfunction and give faulty readings.

solar street light with right water ingress rating

If Still Under Warranty, Contact the Manufacturer

If your newly-purchased solar garden light has suffered water ingress issue the moment you place them outdoors, you would have to contact the manufacturer.

Do not open it by yourself as it would void the warranty. You can send a picture back to the manufacturer so they can provide replacements.

Drain the Water Away and Let it Dry

If the warranty expires, you can try to solve this case by yourself.

  • Simply open the cover and wipe away the moisture.
  • Let it dry for a couple of days before reassembling it back. Make sure the batteries are intact.
  • Allow it to charge longer before testing if it works.

8. Flickering Solar Lights Due to Faulty Wires

faulty wiring on solar lights cause it to come on during day
Photo credit: Alternative Energy Sources

Solar lights malfunctioning may also be due to a faulty wiring prohibiting it to function normally. Again, if it’s still under warranty, it is better that you contact your manufacturer about the matter. If not, you can troubleshoot and fix the wires by yourself.

Fix Broken Wires

Check the solar unit for any faulty wire and check wiring continuity. If you saw wires that are bitten by squirrels, use electrical tape or solder it to patch them back together.

You may also want to read our “How to Fix Broken Wires on Solar Lights” article.

9. Faulty or Damaged Sensor

If you have tried cleaning the sensor but it still doesn’t work properly, it might be that it’s broken or not working. You can inform the manufacturer about this if it’s covered by the warranty, but if not, you can try to find a replacement.

Buy a new sensor

To avoid added costs, you can ask the same supplier if they can provide you with the same model for the sensor or you can search the internet for the model.

If you do not know how to do the wiring yourself, you can refer to this helpful instructable: How Do You Repair the Light Sensor on a Solar Light. Or you can ask an electrician to fix it for you.

10. Faulty or Damaged Battery

solar batter damage causes light to come on during the day
Source: HeiSolar’s Adjustable Solar Street Light

A faulty or damaged battery can also be a major reason why your light doesn’t switch off during the day.

After you have checked, troubleshoot and cleaned the sensor, and still haven’t rooted the cause of failure, you can now turn your attention to the battery.

Signs that you have a faulty battery:

  • The battery drains away quickly.
  • It might cause your solar unit to switch on during daytime.

How to Troubleshoot

To find the problem with the solar battery, start by testing each part of the circuit, all the way to the charging source.

Replace Your Batteries

Try to replace your batteries and see if it will work. The typical batteries for solar lights are NiCd, NiMH, lithium ion and lithium iron phosphate.

Solar yard lights, solar garden lights and older solar lighting equipment usually have NiCd or NiMH rechargeable batteries. You can easily buy them over the counter or online.

Most solar street lights nowadays have Lithium batteries. They are more efficient, less environmentally-hazardous and have longer lives than nickel batteries. To know more about solar light batteries, you may want to read: “12 Types of Street Light Bulb for Any Outdoor Lighting Illumination”.

5 Best Hacks To Extend the Life of Your Solar Lights

Now that you know how to troubleshoot and fix your solar lights, you would want to follow these steps so you can avoid more failures in the future.

1. Keep Them Away from Dusty Areas

As mentioned above, dust accumulation on the cover of your sensor can cause it to stop working or confuse the light. You would want to keep it clean and away from dusty areas as much as you can.

However, if your solar street lights are in industrial areas or zones, this might be difficult to clean. Don’t worry as some models are built to withstand extreme temperatures and horrendous amounts of dust.

2. Keep Them Clean, Especially the Core Parts

For smaller solar lights, you would want to maintain your solar lights once in a while. Bring them in your house to clean the core parts. Make sure that you dry them out before putting them back in place.

3. Follow the Best Angle

Following the best angle helps your solar light maximize energy conversion up to the end of its life. Solar panels work best when they are placed directly perpendicular to the sun’s rays. A general recommendation is to position the panel at 30° angle.

During the winter, re-position them at 60° so you get the most out of the sunlight. Then get them back at the default angle once spring arrives.

4. Adjust to Its Optimal Settings

Automatic solar lights usually have adjustable settings. If your solar light shows signs of being faulty, try recalibrating these settings and test whether it works. Begin with the maximum setting for sensitivity and work your way back. This way, it will only trigger a specific setting as required.

5. Give Them a Rest for At Least 72 Hours

Giving any gadget a rest can help revive its electronic components. For solar lights, simply unplugging them for 72 hours can help deep charge the battery. You can do this once or twice a month to keep your solar batteries running more efficiently.


When your solar light doesn’t turn off during the day, it means it’s faulty and you’re wasting energy. As solar lights are invented for the purpose of using less energy for commercial and industrial lighting, you should try and fix it when it’s faulty.

We hope this article helped you solve your issue of fixing your solar light that comes on during the day.

If you want more durable solar garden lights options with little to no maintenance needed, HeiSolar manufactures these. We offer low-priced, and low MOQ automatic solar lighting equipment that can be used both in commercial and industrial purposes. Contact us for more information.

1 thought on “Why Do My Solar Lights Come on During the Day”

  1. Thanks for very informative post, I do still have a question as How do I know the light sensors’ sensitivity is too High?
    Thank you for taking the time to write this all out! 🙂

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