Can LED Lights Power Solar Panels? Exploring the Possibilities

LED lights have been growing in popularity over the years as a fun and unique way to illuminate a room. 

From thin LED strips lining the ceiling to glowing wall displays, this method of lighting can be a stunning way to jazz up a room. But what else are these lights capable of? 

With the increased usage of solar panels as an environmentally friendly power source, many have posed the question: Can LED lights power solar panels? 

Today, we’ll be answering this question and going over some key facts about the capabilities of LED lights!

We’ll look at: 

  • Whether LED lights can power solar panels
  • Various aspects relating to solar panels, such as lighting source and color temperature
  • Whether LED lights are suitable for solar watches and charging solar panels indoors
  • Reasons why it’s a good idea to power LED lights with solar panels.

Let’s get into it! 

Can LED Lights Power Solar Panels?

Yes, LED lights are able to power solar panels! The type of light that LEDs emit is very similar to sunlight (which is why it’s also good for plants!). 

How effective the LEDs are at powering solar panels depends on the type of bulb and color temperature. While this method won’t be as effective as true, natural sunlight, it still works in a pinch.

Do Solar Panels Need Sun or Just Light?

While sunlight is certainly the most common and effective way to power solar panels, it is not a necessity. 

Solar panels are powered when the atoms within their solar cells are disturbed, and this happens when powerful light hits them. 

While not every type of light will be able to power solar panels, LED and other artificial lights such as fluorescent bulbs are powerful enough to cause the necessary reaction to charge these panels. 

Does Color Temperature of Light Affect Solar Panels?

Yes, the color temperature of light definitely affects how effective it is at powering solar panels. 

The most effective type of light when it comes to powering solar panels is the color temperature closest to sunlight, which is 5900 degrees kelvin (K). 

LED lights with cooler hues contain more ultraviolet waves, which can pass right through the solar cell. LED lights with warmer infrared waves do not have enough energy to disturb the necessary atoms within the solar cell. 

For this reason, you want to aim for a middle ground between the two hues. A color temperature between 5000K and 6000K will generally be the most effective when it comes to powering solar panels.

Can LED Light Charge Solar Watch? 

Technically, LED lights will be able to charge a solar watch. The only catch is that it will take much, much longer than simply charging it with sunlight. 

On a typical sunny day, the sun produces 1000 watts of solar energy. LED lights on the other hand? Around 5 to 15 watts. 

This means that you would have to wait up to 10 hours for LED lights to charge a solar watch fully – a feat that would take around 10 minutes in the sunlight!

So, a LED light can absolutely charge a solar watch – but you may be waiting a while. 

Is LED Lighting a Good Alternative for Charging Solar Panels Indoors? 

If you have indoor solar panels that aren’t able to get any sunlight or find yourself in a pinch at nighttime, LED lights can be a great way to charge these panels. 

Unlike a regular bulb that casts light broadly in all directions, LED lights are able to be focused and pointed right at the panels. This is going to charge solar panels much more effectively than a standard bulb. 

Reasons to Power LED Lights with Solar Panels

We’ve looked at using LED lights to power solar panels, but what about the reverse? 

Are you able to use solar panels to power LED lights? Absolutely! In fact, LED lights are some of the best forms of lighting to use with solar panels. 

Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons to power LED lights with solar panels. 

LED Lights Are Bright and Well-Powered by Solar Panels

Unlike standard bulbs, LED lights require very little electricity to power many lights. They also run on the same form of power as solar panels, which is known as direct current (DC). 

This means that LED lights and solar panels work perfectly together, and require no adaptors or convertors. 

LED Lights Are Energy-Efficient and Save on Costs

Did you know that a standard incandescent light bulb creates light through heat? It ends up wasting 90% of its energy through this creation of heat. 

LED lights, on the other hand, create no heat at all – just pure light. This means that they are super energy-efficient and inexpensive. 

LED Lights Allow for Higher Visibility

While many people tend to use LED lights in soft colors to decorate their living space, these lights can also be extremely bright and powerful. LED white flood lights are so bright, they can light up an entire room as if it’s daytime. 

Solar Panels and LED Lights Have Long Lifetimes

Do you remember how many times you’ve had to change the lightbulbs in your home? Imagine not having to do that for 22 years! That is how long an installed LED light will typically last. Along with that, solar panels last for 25 years, with very little degradation and power loss over time. 

Solar-Powered LED Lights Can Be Built in Off-Grid, Remote Areas

Both LED lights and solar panels are long-lasting and portable. You don’t have to worry about stringing electric cables along or finding power outlets. This means you can set up your solar powered LED lights in remote areas, such as out in your yard.

What Artificial Lights Can be Used to Charge Solar Panels?

There are a few different types of artificial lights that can be used to charge solar panels. While they will never be as effective as sunlight, they are still pretty impressive when it comes to powering panels. 

Some of these artificial lights include: 

  • Incandescent lights – This is an extremely common type of light, which is powered by a heated wire filament.
  • Ultraviolet lights – These are unique lights with very short wavelengths, powered by electromagnetic radiation. 
  • LED lights – Of course, there are LEDs. These powerful, low-energy lights are great for charging solar panels. 


At the end of the day, using LED lights to charge solar panels (and vice versa) is a great and innovative way to play around with different light and energy sources. 

While direct sunlight will always be the most effective way to charge solar panels, the power of LED lights is seriously impressive. 

John Bayly

John Bayly

John has dedicated his career to the lighting industry. Starting out as an interior designer with a specialism in lighting, he went on to found his own commercial lighting business. He now shares his expertise and passion for all things lighting with readers of