Has anyone used solar lights indoors?

Solar lights are designed predominantly for outdoor use, where sunlight is easily accessible and they can receive regular sunlight to convert solar energy into usable electrical energy.  Even when the panels are exposed to indirect sunlight, they still work producing electricity.  Only if they are completely blocked by an object, the solar panels stop generating electricity.  But do solar lights work indoors?

Solar lights get charged most efficiently in natural sunlight.  Sunlight generates ample amount of UV light, which helps the charging process of solar lights.  Charging solar lights indoor is possible using incandescent bulbs which also generate some amount of UV light but not really sufficient to effectively and completely charge the lights.  Moreover, charging solar lights with the help of artificial lights may impair their ability to properly charge in the long run.

Their environmental benefits are one of the reasons why solar-powered lighting systems are a popular lighting choice across the globe.  Having to charge these lights with artificial lights in order to use them indoors ultimately causes harm to the environment.  Solar lights are expected to save you money but charging your solar equipment with electricity will do the opposite.

So how else can you charge and use your solar light indoors?


Using a mirror larger than your solar light to reflect sunlight and charge the batter y is possible.  However, placing your solar light near a natural light source will charge it more effectively and effortlessly.  The orientation of solar panels towards the sun is important to maximize energy yields.  Therefore, placing your solar panel near a window that faces South will help better absorption of sunlight to some extent.

As long as there is sunlight passing through the glass, solar lights can be placed behind a glass window.  Nonetheless, the lights will not be able to perform at their maximum efficiency because some amount of sunlight that is reflected off the glass will be lost.  Depending on the thickness of the glass, the degree of lost sunlight may vary.  Your solar light will be compelled to convert the available sunlight and function accordingly.

As we all know, noontime is when the sun is at its highest, hence charging of solar panels is most efficient during midday.  Since the angle of sunlight plays a major role in solar charging, placing solar-powered lights behind glass windows reduces the capability of getting that efficiency. If there are window frames, trees covering the window or any other obstructions, the rate of charge in solar panels may reduce.  The intensity and direction of sun rays keep changing throughout the day, so keeping your solar lights by the same window from morning to evening will not ensure direct day-long sunlight supply to the panels.

The most effective method is to keep your solar panel outside and the light inside the building.  Solar lights with independent solar panels such as solar flood lights can be used to illuminate garages, sheds, shelters, etc.  The panels can be positioned away from the solar lights with the help of a few metres of wire to a spot where they can be directly exposed to the sun.  The illuminating fixture can be installed using screws when mounting on the walls or by using hooks.

Solar lights are expected to illuminate your exterior environment without having to depend on a power grid, which is a cost-effective way to enhance the beauty of your outdoor space while ensuring safety.  Solar lights are convenient lighting units, where they detect darkness and switch on automatically.  When placed indoors, if there are other bright light sources around, your solar lights will not light up even if they are fully charged.

As discussed above, solar lights can be used indoors as long as they are installed at a place where they receive sunlight consistently.  Indoor solar lights are ideal lighting options during power outages as long as they are fully charged.  Your solar panel will continue to work even behind an uncovered window or a glass window, although the performance of the lights will not be the one you paid for.