How Solar Lighting Works

Solar lights use photovoltaic (PV) cells, which absorb the sun’s energy and create an electrical charge that moves through the panel.1 Wires from the solar cell connect to the battery, which converts and stores the power as chemical energy until it’s needed. 

The battery later uses that energy to power an LED (light-emitting diode) bulb. The diode is a semiconductor that allows electrons to pass between its two points, creating electromagnetic energy in the form of light during hours of darkness.

LED technology generates light up to 90% more efficiently than incandescent and fluorescent lighting, making it ideal for solar lighting systems.2 Rather than burning out like a traditional light bulb, LED bulbs simply dim over time. But their typical lifetime is far longer than a traditional bulb: tens of thousands of hours versus the 1,000 hours of an incandescent bulb, or 3,000 hours for a halogen bulb.