Do Solar Lights Work in Winter? – The Definitive Guide

  1. Do solar lights really work in winter?
  2. Why are my solar lights not on dusk till dawn in winter?
  3. How do you charge solar lights in winter?
  4. What are the best solar lights in winter?
  5. How do you to charge solar lights without sun?
  6. How do solar lights work in the shade?
  7. Can you use rechargeable batteries in solar lights?
  1. Do solar lights really work in winter?Solar PV panels covered by snow on the home roof during winter

All solar lights work in winter as long as the solar panel receives enough daylight to power up the batteries to a point that the light can function (assuming no faults).

Many people ask if our lights work in winter having had a bad experience in the past, normally with cheap budget type lights.

All solar lights use rechargeable batteries, but with a good set of Lithium Ion batteries costing upwards of £10, very cheap solar lights are likely to perform poorly.

  1. Why are my solar lights not on dusk till dawn in winter?Modern family home with solar panels on roof at dawn

“Dusk to till dawn” or “always on” are the most common type of solar lights that run at night until dawn or until the charge in the batteries runs out. However the dusk till dawn description can build unrealistic expectations. Here at Solar Centre we try our best not to use that description, as the time of year, panel positioning, and of course the specification of the light all determine how long the light will operate for.
22 December 2023 is the next solstice, where there will be 7 hours 49 minutes and 42 seconds of daylight in London.

For our premium solar products 1hr direct sunlight can provide up to 1.3hr LED/SMD light output.

Here at Solar Centre we launched two massive technological advances in our solar lights, Power Saving mode, which doubles the light run time by reducing the power going to the LED/SMD bulb.


Our first Dual Solar Panel lights were also introduced on the Kodiak range. Both features combined offer more than 4 times the runtime of comparable lights without these features.

  1. How do you charge solar lights in winter?Snow covered house with solar lights

No matter what time of year solar lights charge in the same way, the main differences between winter and summer is that the length of time between sunrise and sunset reduces.

The sun in the UK is lower in the sky in winter which has two knock on effects. One being that sunlight has more atmosphere for the suns rays to pass through and the other that a solar panel will produce more when pitched at approximately a 45% angle rather than straight up.

Avoiding shadows is particularly crucial in winter as lengthening shadows that may not have been a factor in summer can make a review of a solar panels positioning an essential task in winter.

  1. What are the best solar lights in winter?Garden wood decking with solar strip lights

There are many solar lights that are best for UK winter conditions but it really depends on what you need the solar lights for.

Security solar lights with motion sensor are perfect all year round as the lights that only trigger when movement has been sensed. We make security lights with 1,400 Lumens (the brightest in the UK). If bright lighting is essential in winter then we always strongly recommend a motion activated light to provide the best guarantee of the light being there when you need it.

Our range of remote panel solar security lights


Fairy lights use far less power and work all year round. Our Lumify fairy lights have a USB top up for if you ever have long periods with no sunlight, or if you’re struggling to get the panel in a good position for the winter sun.

Last but not least, our dual panel lights with power saving mode boast the best light runtimes for always-on light in winter.

For more options, check out our range of ‘Works in Winter’ products here.

  1. How do you charge solar lights without sun?Dark sky full of shiny stars in winter forest at night

Solar panels use the energy from daylight and not direct sunlight, direct sunlight provide the best conditions as it’s the least diffused through cloud. Even the angle of the sun throughout the year is massively affected just by the amount of atmosphere the rays need to pass.

Dark thick cloud will absorb far more daylight than thin white clouds and in turn reduces the output of the panel. So even on a cloudy and rainy day your panels are still working away.

  1. How do solar lights work in the shade?Garden with long shadows

As above, solar lights still work in the shade without sun but for the best performance, no matter the time of year, solar panels should be angled directly at the sun with nothing in the way to diffuse the light.

  1. Can you use rechargeable batteries in solar lights?Rechargable battery

All “real” solar lights should have rechargeable batteries to work, the solar panel simply recharges the batteries during daylight and the lights come on once the sun has set.

Why not check out our full range of solar lighting? Designed here in the UK, for the UK – Click Here For Solar Lights

Read our guide on how solar lights work to learn more.

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