Can You Charge A Solar Lights With A Light Bulb Without The Sun

The optimal way to charge a solar panel to feed power to your devices is via the sunlight, but not everyday is sunny.

So the question is can you charge solar lights with a light bulb without Sunlight presence?

Yes you can, but its lot slower and here is what we can do to at least optimize it.

Ways To Charge Solar Lights Without Sun Presence

Use Incandescent Light Bulb

The incandescent light bulb gives out artificial light energy to charge a solar light efficiently, but it will be slow, and you must first directly place the solar panels to face the light bulb as much as you can.

Use LED Lights to Charge a Solar Light

LED flashlights can charge solar lights when you don’t have access to indoor lighting. Typically it takes about 10 to 12 hours while using LED light. 

Use Mirror To Redirect Sunlight

If sunlight doesn’t directly hit your solar lights, what you can do is use a mirror to reflect sun light at it. This isn’t the most practical for day to day operation, but it’s a way to make solar lights work in the shade or on a cloudy day.

Plug Into The Grid Or Use DC Power

If nothing seems to work the way you wanted, please consider buying a solar light with the ability to plug into the grid or a battery source. This means no slow charge and not weather dependent.

Common FAQ

How Much Energy Comes From Light?

A standard incandescent light bulb produces between 40 and 100 watts total and has most of the energy in the longest infrared wavelengths.

Solar energy is about 1,000 watts per square meter on the Earth’s surface on a sunny day.

However, a typical solar cell receives only a tiny fraction of it because its size is only a few square centimeters.

So… it will receive a similar amount of light as it does from the Sun; although the Sun is more powerful by far, the distance of the incandescent lamp to the solar panel makes up the big difference.

Incandescent Vs. Solar Spectrum

The Sun and all other light sources produce a “spectrum” – a spread of light wavelengths including long infrared waves, visible light, short ultraviolet waves and X-rays.

The Sun generates large amounts of ultraviolet whereas an incandescent bulb produces very little.

A solar cell converts some sunlight wavelengths to electricity while ignoring other wavelength types. The cell roughly matches the Sun’s spectrum; Because the spectrum of an incandescent light is close to the Sun’s, a solar cell has no problem running on its light.

Do Distance, Time And Voltage Matter?

Light bulb distance, charge time and voltage are all important factors to power a solar light without the sun.

The energy received by a solar cell from an incandescent light diminishes rapidly as distance between them increase. The less light that falls on the solar cell, the weaker its output, so it takes longer to charge a battery.

It becomes impossible to charge the battery If the cell’s voltage is lower than a minimum threshold value.

Is It Practical To Power Solar Lights With Incandescent Light Bulb?

People care about speed, and no one is patient enough for a solar light to charge for hours while also using up electricity from the grid, which costs money.

Sunlight, on the other hand, is free for the taking. Although running a solar cell on artificial light works fine, it’s always better to maximize the sunlight as much as possible.

Ying Xu

Graduated from the University of Kansas with an Aerospace Engineering degree & served 4 years as an US Air Force officer. Experienced with basic survival skills, weapon system security,  technical disaster recovery, and system troubleshooting

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