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Why Do My Solar Lights Come On During the Day?

Written by Eddie B. Robinson / Checked by Justin Tucker

Why do my solar lights come on during the day? It might be one of those confusing questions that come to your mind every time your solar light turns on even when it is not yet nighttime. It is because solar outdoor lights should only come on when it is already dark outside, and they should turn off during the daybreak.

Why Do My Solar Lights Come On During the Day

However, there might be times when they remain on during the day. If your solar lights are not turning off during the day, then here are some of the most common reasons why:


Lights are in the wrong position

You might have positioned your lights in a place where it does not get enough light. This could be the reason why the sensors do not automatically turn off the lights. You might have positioned them where the shadows of your house or large trees fall on them.

Such placements will prevent them from turning off. Note that light sensors need quite a lot of light before they engage. Putting them in the shade is not a good idea.

The light sensor might be covered in dirt

If the light sensor is dirty then light might not be able to reach it. This might cause it to think mistakenly that it is still nighttime. This usually happens when you have not cleaned your solar lights in a while, or if rainstorms have kicked up a lot of dirt and spattered them onto the light sensor.

It can also be due to fallen leaves and other debris covering the sensors. This often occurs when you position your solar lights near trees and bushes, especially those with broad leaves.

The light sensor might be faulty

There is a chance that the light sensor of your solar outdoor light is on the fritz. If you have not been using the solar light for that long then the problem might be a factory defect, and it should still be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.


If your light has been in your possession long enough for the warranty to expire, then the wiring inside might have deteriorated and caused a short circuit. There is no way to make sure that this is the case without opening up the solar light. Also, you might need specialized tools to find the actual problem.

The sensitivity settings of the light sensor might be too high

If the light sensors are set at a sensitivity that is too high, then even the slightest shadows will cause them to turn on the lights. There are times when a bug perched on top of the sensor provides just enough shadows to make the light sensor trip.

The duration of the lights might be too long

There are some models of solar lights that also come with a light duration setting. This dictates how long the lights remain on when the light sensors are tripped. The duration can range from ten seconds to an hour.

This might work with a faulty light sensor sensitivity setting. When the light sensor gets tripped up, the light turns on for too long. It then gets tripped again by the slightest shadow.

The override switch might be turned on

Most brands of solar lights come with an override switch. This switch overrides the function of the light sensor and lets the light turn on regardless if it is dark outside or not. You might have mistakenly turned the override switch on.

Now that you know the probable reasons why your solar outdoor lights do not seem to turn off during the daytime, you can start doing what you can to make them work as intended. Here are some of the things that you can do to fix your solar outdoor lights:

Position your lights where they can get enough light

Your solar lights need to be exposed to bright sunlight for them to turn off their lights on their own. To find the ideal spot for them, observe your yard keenly for an entire day. Take note of where the shadows fall on your yard and position your lights away from those areas.


Ideally, solar yard lights should be placed where they can get sunlight for at least six hours straight. This will provide the solar panels with enough sunlight to fully recharge the batteries and allow the lights to function all through the night.

Clean your solar lights every so often

Do not let your solar lights get caked with dust and dirt. You should clean them every chance that you get. Just turn your garden hose on whenever you are watering your plants. The pressure of the water coming from the hose will be enough to remove most of the loose dirt and dust.

With that said, you should give your lights a proper cleaning every month or so too. It is a good thing that solar garden lights are built to withstand anything that the weather can throw at them, so you do not have to be gentle when handling them.

Grab a bucket of soapy water (use a mild detergent) and a sponge and then give all the lights a good scrubbing. Avoid immersing them in the bucket, though. Thoroughly scrub the solar panels and the light sensor so that they can absorb as much light as needed. Rinse the lights by turning your garden hose on them.

Adjust the settings

As mentioned earlier, there might not be anything wrong with your solar garden lights. You might have just made the wrong adjustments to their settings.

Check the light sensitivity first. Make sure that it is not set on maximum as this will make the lights too sensitive to darkness, so much that a slightly overcast sky might cause the lights to turn on.

If you want the lights to turn on in the early afternoon, set the light sensitivity to around a quarter of the way. If you want the lights to turn on only when it is completely dark outside, set the sensitivity to just a little above the lowest setting, around five to ten percent sensitivity should do.

If you want the lights to immediately turn off when it senses an ample amount of light, turn the light duration to zero. This means that the lights will immediately turn off when it detects light. If you want the lights to turn off a little bit longer, set them to turn off after five or ten minutes.

Check the user manual of your garden lights to find out if they have override buttons. If you learned that they do have override switches, check every one of your lights. Make sure that you did not accidentally turn them on.

Many brands of solar outdoor lights have override switches that allow the user to turn on the lights regardless if it is dark outside or not. This feature is great if you are hosting an evening party in your backyard as the solar lights will add to the ambiance.

Send the lights back to the seller if they are still within the warranty

If none of the usual causes of the lights not turning off during the day seem to be the root problem, then it might be a problem with the unit itself. If this seems to be the case and the lights are still under warranty, you just need to send the lights, in their original packaging, back to the seller.

This is the reason why you should never throw away product receipts and the original packaging of everything that you buy in case you need to return or have the item replaced because of factory defects.

Let a professional electrician check them out

Do this if the lights are already out of the warranty period. Unless you have any knowledge about electrical circuits and how to fix circuit boards, then you should probably not try to pry open the lights on your own, especially if they are quite expensive. You might do more harm than good if you do.

Take your defective lights to a licensed electrician and let him/her have a go at it. If the problem with your lights is shorted out circuit board, they will be able to fix the problems for you.

However, you need to ask your electrician for a quick cost estimate so you will know if having your solar lights repaired is worth it. For instance, if the cost of repairs is almost as high as getting new lights, then you should just get brand new ones.

On the other hand, if the lights are part of a set and you cannot find identical replacement lights, then it is probably okay to have them repaired even if the costs are quite high. However, it is rare that repair costs of solar lights go beyond 20 bucks or so.


If your solar outdoor lights do not turn off on their own when it is daytime then do not automatically assume that they are broken. Note that several perfectly valid reasons can answer your question about “why do my solar lights come on during the day”.

The good news is that most of the reasons do not require you to spend a dime of your money to fix them. Now that you know what factors might have caused your solar lights from malfunctioning, proceed with your inspection so that you can remedy or fix the problem immediately.

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