We all have had garden lights where the solar panels are not really visible anymore (See photo below) The epoxy coating of the solar panel degrades in UV reducing the energy the solar panel can produce. Therefore they only run for a short time at night. Why put them into landfill, when you can easily clean them up to look like new?
Each year in spring, I spend a few hours cleaning the solar lights from spiders and cobwebs. At the same time I clean the surface of the solar panel and coat it with clear coat to bring it up looking like new. Any type of acrylic clear coat from an automotive or hardware store which is UV stable should work.
- Clean down the solar panel surface with water and detergent to remove all contamination like bird droppings. I will still have a white non-clear look, but the conformal coating will change that.
- Mask the area so spray will only go on the solar panel. Photo coming.
- Spray the area or use a paint brush to paint a layer onto the solar panel. I used a paint brush this time around as I had conformal coating in a standard container.
- Leave to dry.
If your garden light still does no work after a day of recharging in the sun check the battery connections and any switch. Normally the contacts just need to be cleaned.
Note: Try to buy higher quality garden lights with replaceable Lithium batteries as these should last longer than the older Nickel Hydride battery versions. Really this should be the case for all products, we seem to buy the cheapest and think that at this price, we just buy a 2nd when it fails. This is generating so much extra e-waste that then needs to be processed or put into landfill. Reduce, Recycle, Reuse!
Flame effect lights after cleaning and coating the panel. Works and looks like new again.