The cry to adopt alternative forms of energy to power our homes and industries has never been louder. The safe environment movement has and continues to point out the importance of using solar energy in the place of electricity. The argument is that it is clean (safe), cheaper, and good for the environment. Take your neighbor, for example. You heard that he is a solar energy fanatic who has revolutionized his entire house lighting. However, how he manages to charge solar lights without the sun during winter is a question you can’t answer.
You wish he was less mean so you could ask him about it and hopefully join the movement. Now let go of your mean neighbor and let me help you answer those questions. This article shows you how to charge solar lights without the sun on those foggy days or during winter. Keep on reading, and you will find out how.
What are solar lights, and how do they work?
Let’s begin by understanding how solar lights work. Solar lights, also known as solar lamps or lanterns, are simply lights that draw their energy from the sun. They usually have batteries that tap energy from the sun and preserve it to be used for light later.
The solar light batteries use what is known as the photovoltaic effect – a condition where substances exposed to light can produce electric currents. The solar cells are structured using this principle, enabling them to convert sunlight into electricity.
How to charge solar lights without the sun?
Contrary to popular belief, you can charge solar lights without the sun or without necessarily having them exposed directly to a lot of sunlight. In the section above, I simplified to you how solar lights work. It is clear that solar lights depend on the light from the sun and not the heat. Therefore, any light would do just as well as sunlight. And that is why you can charge them whether the sun is hot or hiding in the clouds.
Below are a few points to answer the question ‘ how to charge solar lights without the sun’.
- Charge solar lights using an artificial light bulb
One way you can charge solar lights without the sun is by using regular light bulbs such as incandescent, fluorescent, UV light, and LED bulbs. The type of bulb you choose depends on the kind and amount of light wavelength required by your solar light.
How does it work? I hope you remember the concept of photovoltaic cells we mentioned earlier in this article. For you to charge solar lights using artificial light bulbs, place your solar lights directly under the lit bulbs with the cells facing the light. This should be about 20 inches apart for maximum absorption.
Hence, the photovoltaic cells respond to the light waves from the lit bulbs by tapping into the energy and then converting it for use. The brighter the artificial light bulb is, the better it can charge the solar light. Also, the longer the hours you expose the solar light to the bulb, the more energy it taps. Therefore make sure not to rush the process if you intend to get your solar lights fully charged.
As we can see, light bulbs are just as good a way to charge the solar lights as is the sun. However, this excludes the time factor since a lot of time is required to charge a solar light using artificial light bulbs fully. You can reduce this inefficiency by using more powerful bulbs such as those that use UV technology.
Charge solar lights using amorphous solar panels
Amorphous solar panels are panels that do not possess the usual monocrystalline and polycrystalline features. This amorphous shape makes the panels a good fit to charge solar lights on a cloudy day. Also, because of their configuration nature, they collect more energy compared to their counterparts.
If you are intending to install a solar panel to be using to charge your solar lights, I recommend the amorphous panels. They are cheaper and can charge your lights well on all those cloudy winter days without driving you back to the electricity dramas.
Charge solar lights using standard electricity
You must be wondering why I am suggesting the use of electricity to charge solar lights when we are all trying to get off the grid of this form of energy. Here is my justification, though. Consider, for example, being woken up at 4 a.m. to an emergency while your solar lights have just run out of energy. Wouldn’t it be logical for you to plug the lights into the socket and let it tap energy just enough to help you attend to your sick daughter?
Using standard electricity to charge solar lights is, therefore, one way you can run around the lighting problem, especially during an emergency.
Charge solar lights using indirect sunlight.
You can also charge your solar lights using indirect sunlight. For instance, you could place your solar light alongside the window of your house and let it indirectly receive energy from the sun. This is usually a good way of ensuring that your solar light is kept safe from theft or any other form of harm while ensuring it is well-charged despite being away from home.
Charge solar lights using solar power banks
Most companies that produce solar appliances such as solar lanterns have also begun manufacturing solar power banks. This helps you to charge solar lights without the sun, especially during winter or in foggy weather. All you need to do is to ensure that the solar power bank is fully charged before you insert in the solar light to charge.
Use mirrors to redirect sunlight to your solar lights
This could be a labor-intensive way to charge solar lights without the sun. Here is how it works. Diagonally place two mirrors that are twice the size of the solar panel in front of the panel. The goal is to ensure enough light is reflected in the panel. This makes sure the solar lights receive more energy, which it converts for future use
As mentioned earlier, this method could be tiresome as it involves moving about the mirrors as the direction of the sun keeps shifting. It could also be risky as you may break the mirrors and hurt yourself while moving them about. I suggest using this method to charge your solar lights only when you can not change your solar panel position.
Change the position of your solar panels
During winter, you may consider changing your solar panels’ position to enable them to access more sunlight. Given the limited availability of sunlight, use a solar professional’s advice to locate the positions from which your solar panel can receive enough light. The panels’ correct position ensures that the solar lights remain well charged even during the cold season.
Keep the solar panels clean
In the snowy winter season, it is strange how those weakly looking sun rays manage to power a solar light. You, therefore, have the responsibility of supporting them in this mission. You can do this by ensuring your solar panels stay free from snow and dirt throughout the season. Using a brush with soft bristles, gently remove the snow and any dirt from the panel to expose a bigger part to the limited sunlight. This also preserves the panel from pre-mature damage.
The revolution to shift from the use of electricity to alternative forms of energy is undeniably moving fast. At least one out of five American families own one solar-powered appliance. It is obvious that solar is the future of world energy, no wonder the fuss.
The use of solar lights in most homes is one of the practical ways we have seen the above observation stand out. However, most people still have reservations about making a move based on how to charge them on days when sunlight becomes a limited commodity. You could be one of them. You ask questions like: How can I charge solar lights without the sun?
There is good news for you! You can charge solar lights without the sun by employing a myriad of techniques. For instance, you could use artificial light bulbs to charge your solar lights. This powers them just as well as direct sunlight. Other methods include using electricity, solar power banks, mirrors to reflect more light on the panels, changing their position, and keeping them clean to receive more light.
Cloudy and winter seasons can be difficult when it comes to lighting your house using solar lights. However, you can employ some of the ways mentioned above to stay out of darkness while keeping your pockets safe from high electricity bills.