Solar Powered Security Lights – A Worthy Addition to Your Home?

Solar powered motion-activated lights are a relatively new product with several advantages over conventional security lighting.  They are easy to install, use the power of the sun, and can offer light during a power outage.  But, solar powered security lights have a few setbacks such an unreliable battery charging during cloudy or winter months, a high initial investment, and the use of batteries which must be disposed of.

So the question still stands, are they worth it?


  • Environmentally Responsible.
  • No need for an electrician to complete installation.
  • Will work even if the power goes out.
  • Great for sunny cities such as Reno.
  • Use LED lights which shouldn’t need replacing.
  • Bright light models available.


  • Higher initial investment.
  • Limited quality options available.
  • Won’t work without sunlight.
  • Rechargeable batteries must be changed every few years.

What to Consider Before Purchasing

Local Weather

In order for the lights to get fully charged, the solar panel connected to the security lights needs 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.  Therefore, the amount of sun you get in the region you live in should be a primary deciding factor.  Here in Reno and Sparks, NV and most of California the sun is almost always shining so this really isn’t a concern.  In Seattle, a solar powered motion light probably doesn’t make sense.


The sensors on motion lights are sensitive to changes in temperature, especially low temperatures.  Some customers have complained that their lights would not activate in cold winter months even when they walked by the sensor several times.  However, this same issue is just as likely to occur with standard electrical versions.


Solar powered lights rely on rechargeable batteries to store their power and the batteries lose their ability to store a charge after a certain time period – usually about 3 years.  Also, the photovoltaic panel requires an unobstructed view of the sun in order to charge the batteries.  This means the unit must be kept clean and the batteries changed from time to time in order to ensure functionality.

The vaste majority of solar powered security lights benefit from the use of LED lights which can last up to 30,000 hours and are extremely efficient.  This means you probably won’t ever have to change the lightbulbs.

Mounting Location

The solar powered lights must have direct sunlight during the day in order to produce light at night which means certain models will not work in heavily shaded areas.  Some models have the solar panel attached to the actual light, but the higher end models have the solar panel separated from the lighting unit – typically by 15′ of cable.  The seperated solar panel gives the lights much more versatility with mounting location since the light itself can be placed in shady areas.

Our Two Cents

Here at HandyGreen Home Solutions we currently have limited experience with solar powered lighting and are basing our opinion on research conducted online.  That being said, solar powered security lighting seems like a great solution for anybody that is either concerned with their impact on the environment or wants to put a light where there is currently no electrical wiring.  Not only can you save significant money by avoiding an electrician, you will also be doing the environment a favor.

Below are two options that seem to offer reasonable quality and a bright light that will be effective in deterring unwanted guests.  Be sure to read customer reviews before making your decision.

MAXSA Innovations 40225 Solar-Powered Motion-Activated 80 LED Security Floodlight, Off-White

Watch Dog Solar Security Light

Need Help With Installation?

Give us a call if you need help installing your solar powered motion lights in Reno or Sparks, NV.  We provide a quality experience unlike any other handyman service and would love to help you get it installed correctly!

HandyGreen Home Solutions LLC