Solar powered lighting systems have also increased in popularity over the last decade or so. They offer green alternatives, but have left people questioning the safety of these stand along devices. Can solar powered lights catch fire?
Solar powered lights can pose the risk of catching fire. This is especially true for ones that are fitted with Lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are extremely volatile and combustible. If they are punctured or overheated, they can catch on fire. In most cases, buying cheap solar powered lights increases the risk of them catching fire. However, the number of solar lights that have caught on fire is minimal.
In this article, we will discuss in depth whether solar-powered lights can catch fire, if you can leave solar-powered lights on all the time without catching fire, the best quality solar-powered lights to reduce the possibility of catching fire, among other things. So sit back, relax, and read on to find out more. This will certainly be an eye-opening read for you.
Can Solar Powered Lights Catch Fire?
Before we can answer the main question, we need to explore how solar powered lights store power. This will help us understand whether they can catch fire and if so, what the reason behind this is. So how do solar powered lights store power?
How Solar Lights Store Electricity For Night Use
Inside each solar powered light is usually one or more batteries. A solar array that is usually fitted directly on top of the light or is a separate unit that is attached through a length of cable, charges the battery during daylight hours. The solar array converts light to electrical energy which passes through a controller which in turn charges the battery.
Modern solar powered lights are fitted with one of three different varieties of batteries. These are Lithium-ion (Li-Ion), Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), and in rare occasions Nickel Cadmium (NiCd).
Common Battery Types For Solar Lights
The use of Lithium-ion batteries in solar powered lights is becoming more popular since it cuts down on costs. These batteries can pack a lot of power into a very small package. Unfortunately, these batteries pose a higher risk of fire due to their volatility.
NiCd batteries are prone to losing their power over time and may not utilize the full capacity of their cells. Its use in solar powered lights is therefore usually minimum.
NiMH batteries on the other hand do not operate efficiently in extreme temperatures. With time, the battery run time can also shorten.
Li-Ion batteries are the preferred choice for most solar powered lights because they can pack a lot of power. Their only downside is that they are extremely volatile. The use of Lithium-ion in solar powered lights is popular and this is what poses the risk of fire.
How Can Solar Lights Catch Fire?
Most manufacturers of solar powered lights have faced criticism for manufacturing defective lights that cause the batteries to overheat and ultimately catch fire.
So to answer the question, yes. Solar powered lights can catch fire because of the use of Li-Ion batteries that are extremely volatile and combustible.
Avoid Cheaply Manufactured Solar Lights
In today’s world where online shopping is prevalent, most people usually opt to buy cheaper. In the case of solar powered lights, this is not a good idea. If you buy a cheap solar powered light, there is a high risk of them catching fire.
Manufacturers that sell their products cheap usually take shortcuts in the manufacturing process. They use cheaper photovoltaic cells to manufacture the batteries. Smart controllers that prevent the batteries from bursting into flames are usually defective. So when you buy such solar-powered lights, the risk of them bursting into flames is quite high.
All in all, we should mention that for a quality solar-powered light, the risk of catching fire is usually low and can be mitigated by taking precautions when choosing the lights.
Can You Leave Solar Lights On All The Time Without Catching Fire?
As is the case with most electrical appliances, we are usually advised to turn them off when they are not in use. This is because electrical malfunctions can happen at any time and if the electrical device isn’t turned off, it can be a fire hazard.
As we have already discussed earlier in this article, solar powered light makes use of Li-Ion batteries that are extremely volatile and combustible.
On top of this, each cell usually sits in an extremely flammable solution of lithium salts and organic solvents which can combust when they are exposed to heat. So what does this mean if the solar light is left on all the time?
Leaving Solar Lights On For Extended Time Overworks The Batteries
By leaving solar lights on for long periods, you overwork the batteries. This drains the battery. If the trend goes on for long enough, the battery may become faulty and defective. This will ultimately affect the integrity of the battery and it may go up in flames. We should however mention that the risk of this happening is usually quite minimal unless the solar light was improperly manufactured.
So does leaving lights on increase the risk of fires? The short answer is yes. But there is still a low likelihood of the solar light catching on fire. But to be safe at all times, it’s always wise to turn them off whenever they are not in use.
The good news is that solar lights can still be charged when they are off. So by turning them off, you prolong the lifetime of the battery and ensure that there are no malfunctions that could make it catch fire.
Choose The Best Quality To Reduce The Risk Of Catching Fire
One of the major precautions to ensure your solar light doesn’t go up in flames is always to invest in quality when purchasing. Cheaper options have an allure for most people who are on a budget. But as we have already mentioned earlier, such lights are usually manufactured with low-quality products and are usually defective.
So by getting those cheap solar lights, though they are cheap, you may be setting yourself up for tragedy.
Quality solar lights from trusted manufacturers are recommended. These usually have no defects and are therefore less prone to catching fire. True, they may cost you a bit more, but in the end, they are a worthy investment.
Our favorite two picks are:
Aootek Led Solar Lights
These are widely regarded as the best solar lights out there by most people. They are super bright and easy to install. It comes with a 2200mAH rechargeable Li-Ion battery. In addition to this, the light’s panels have amazing efficiency at 20.5% at a rate of 1.2 watts energy.
It also has motion detectors which make it amazing for security. It is waterproof and heatproof and therefore the chances of any malfunctions occurring are very minimal. They also come with smart controllers that prevent them from bursting into flames.
You can find Aootek Led Solar Lights on Amazon.
URPOWER 2-in-1 Solar Lights with LED
If you are looking for quality, then this light has you covered. It is plenty bright and has versatile placement options. You can mount them on a wall or a stake in the ground. It has a rotatable solar panel to ensure it captures the most sun possible to charge its Li-Ion battery. This solar light needs 4 to 5 hours of sun to fully charge and can maintain this for 6-9 hours of illumination. The LEDS are very energy efficient. It is also resilient in all weather conditions. This manufacturer has been around for a long time, so the risk of malfunction is quite minimal.
You can find URPOWER 2-in-1 Solar Lights with LED on Amazon.
High Quality Solar Lights Reduce The Risk Of Electrical Fires
We have spent dozens of hours reviewing each type of solar light available. After going through specifications, reviews, and ratings, we created guides for ensuring you get high quality lights.
Here’s our detailed guide of the best solar path lights.
We built another in-depth review of the best solar flagpole lights.
If you are looking for the best overall solar lights, we’ve got you covered there too.
How To Reduce The Risk Of Solar Powered Lights Catching Fire
If you’d like to reduce the risk of solar powered lights catching fire, then here are some tips:
- Buy your solar powered lights from a reputable retailer. Such retailers use high-quality materials to make their lights and this will reduce the risk of them catching fire.
- Don’t always believe the reviews on Amazon. Before purchasing a solar powered light from Amazon, research on your own so you pick quality lights that will not catch fire.
- Don’t opt for cheap options. Li-Ion batteries and photovoltaic cells are relatively expensive so you cannot expect a cheap product to contain good quality components. Investing in quality lights may cost you more, but they will perform better and last longer.
- Think twice about where you mount your lights. Always mount your light somewhere where there are no structures that may catch fire if the light catches on fire. This way, you will only lose the light and no damage will occur to your property.
- Switch the lights off when not in use. Though the risk of them catching fire in this instance is low, always switch them off as this will make sure the battery performs well and lasts long.
To sum up, always take great care to get the best quality solar powered lights, maintain them properly, and don’t misuse them. This will prevent them from catching fire.