Solar lights are brighter and have a long lifespan of about 80,000 hours compared to traditional lights of 10,000-15000. Also, the best thing about solar lights is that they are eco-friendly. So, the usage of solar light has progressed significantly over time as they are the reliable and environmentally friendly option to generate light.

Most of us probably use these lights daily. However, did you realize that these solar lights require batteries? And, these aren’t your typical batteries.

It’s not that the regular batteries won’t work with solar lights; but, according to various research, using standard batteries with solar lights is not advised as it may damage the solar lights. Here, we will be exploring more about the many kinds of batteries and their role in the efficient functioning of solar lights.

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What are Solar Lights? And How Do They Work?

Solar lights are the lights we obtain via solar energy or the sun. But, if we are to define it correctly, solar lights are the light setups that comprise photovoltaic solar panels, LED bulbs, and rechargeable batteries. Thanks to technical advancements, people considered these lights exceptional, but they are now as universal as any other light.

Nowadays, these kinds of solar lights are commonly used to light our streets, houses, or gardens. However, have you ever wondered how these solar lights function? If not, you’re about to find out.

Solar lights are powered with the help of solar panels. If you have ever seen the solar lights on streets, you have probably noticed that they are embedded with a panel above them. These solar panels, also known as photovoltaic cells, play a crucial role in absorbing the sun’s rays and converting them into light or heat energy.

Another name for this process is also called the photovoltaic effect. According to Wonderopolis, a solar cell comprises layers of chemicals and crystals that create negatively-charged and positively-charged spaces.

When sunlight hits these layers, the electrons are pushed into the positively charged areas and produce a current to the battery. These batteries charge during the day and store the energy, converted to light energy when needed.

Use of Batteries in Solar Lights

You must know that most electronic devices have batteries in them, and like any other electronic device, solar lights also function on a battery. Batteries in solar lights are used to store the charge they absorb from the sun so that they can convert them into light energy during the evening.

But many of you might think that the batteries used for solar lights are the same regular ones that we use in our television remote. However, that is not the case. Solar light requires a different kind of battery to store the charge while regular batteries cannot.

Regular Vs. Solar Light Batteries?

Now that you know, solar lights require a different battery than the regular ones. Let’s see the difference between these two types of batteries.

Regular batteries, also known as alkaline batteries, are not rechargeable. These batteries are non-reusable as a deficiency of charge leads to their disposal. However, the batteries used in solar lights are rechargeable.

As per the source, the solar lights use either NiMH rechargeable batteries or NiCd rechargeable batteries. Also, finding these rechargeable NiMH or NiCd batteries is not hard these days, and they are easily found in local stores or online stores.

They’re meant to store the charge from the sun throughout the day and distribute it when it becomes dark at night. So as the regular batteries cannot accumulate charge from the sunlight, it would be best to always look for the rechargeable option for your solar light.

Some people use regular, non-rechargeable ones in an emergency, but their use must not be prolonged. Why is that? Continue reading to find out.

What Happens If You Use Regular Battery for Solar Lights?

You’re probably wondering what will happen if regular batteries are used for a long time instead of rechargeable ones. Some reasons that explain why are mentioned below;

  • The regular batteries cannot store the charge like the rechargeable ones, so this inability to reserve charge for a long time may permanently damage your solar light. Also, the components of regular batteries may cause harm to the solar panel and may ruin it as well.
  • As the regular alkaline batteries are not intended for use with solar lights, they drain the charge for the solar lights and damage the battery terminals.
  • Similarly, continuous use of these regular batteries in the solar lights will make power unstable, and issues like sudden power cuts, blinking lights, and other unsteady performance will occur.

Now that we’ve learned about the consequences of using regular batteries in solar lights, the next time you need to replace the battery in your solar light, you’ll be able to select the correct battery without hesitation.

Why Choose Solar Lights?

With time the solar lights have gained so much popularity. Also, various studies show that the number of people switching to solar light has also increased dramatically in recent years. But the question that arises in most of our minds is, why solar lights and not regular lights?

Well, the answer is quite simple because solar lights are cost-effective in addition to other benefits. Even an ongoing discussion suggests solar lights could be the solution to provide light to underdeveloped and emerging countries.

Another reason why solar lights are gaining popularity is that they are environmentally friendly. While other sources of electricity are, in one way or another, having adverse environmental effects, it is said that solar lights have no harm to the environment.

We Forum‘s study conducted in Kenya found that users can save nearly 2% of their monthly expenses if households switch to solar lights from kerosene lanterns.

In contrast, it also positively impacted people’s health and the environment as the kerosene emission stopped. So, keeping all these in mind, let’s look at the pros and cons of solar lights.

Pros Cons
Environmentally beneficial as they are fueled by solar energy.Affected by weather conditions as it is powered with the help of sunlight.
Easy installation and portable.The brightness intensity could be too bright for certain persons.
Economical as it lowers the electrical bills.Quite expensive in comparison to the traditional lights.
Long life span.Could be fragile.


Solar light helps us generate renewable energy and brighten up our houses, streets, gardens, and many more. Solar light requires a variety of equipment to work well, and the most important is the solar battery which stores the energy acquired from the sun and supplies us with efficient light as per our needs.

Regular batteries are frequently used in our daily lives, from remote controls to portable electronic gadgets. However, these ordinary batteries cannot be utilized as solar light batteries due to their distinct properties. The main reason is that solar batteries can store energy and be used as a backup, but regular batteries are only used once and cannot retain power.

So, suppose you’re searching for an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly way to light up your space. In that case, solar lights should undoubtedly be considered and prioritized. They provide several human advantages that improve the environment and make everyday life easier.

(Last Updated on August 27, 2021 by Sadrish Dabadi)

Akriti Jha holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Environment Science from Tribhuvan University. Akriti is an Environment enthusiast with a passion for writing and reading. She feels responsible towards the environment and has been actively advocating for Zero Waste at Schools campaigns under Clean Up Nepal, a non-profit organization. As much as she loves to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle, she equally enjoys encouraging people around her to be environmentally conscious of their activities.