Over the few years, climate change has affected all of us directly or indirectly. The demand for green technologies has risen as people are shifting towards sustainable options.
Solar Panels are one of the green technologies and as the name suggests, solar panels work with solar energy i.e., sunlight.
Geographically every location is different and there are regions with little or no sunlight how do solar panels work then?
Well, solar panels do rely on sunlight but solar panels can work with LED light as well. Though not as efficient as sunlight but they can get charged via LED lights too.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar Panels work on the photovoltaic effect, a physical phenomenon of converting solar energy into electricity.
Solar panels are made of silicon, a semiconductor, with two layers, each having a positive and negative charge.
There is a stack of densely packed atoms within each layer. When sunlight hits the solar panel, these atoms are disturbed and the electrons are kicked out by photons, which results in electricity production.
In this way, solar energy is harnessed into electrical energy and the sun is the primary source of electricity generation from solar panels.
Is It Possible To Charge a Solar Panel Without Sunlight?
While traveling, you may come across certain moments when there is no sun and you run out of electricity.
Even at home, cloud cover and poor weather conditions can hinder sunlight leading to no power output. In such cases, there has to be a way out.
It is possible to charge a solar panel without sunlight. It was assumed that solar panels rely completely on sunlight, however, now they can be charged with an artificial light source as well.
Can Solar Panels Work With Artificial Light Sources?
Solar panels require a light source for charging. Sunlight is the best available option among renewable resources, but, in regions with little or no sunlight or the days when there is no sun, there has to be an alternative to sunlight.
One of the alternatives to sunlight is the LED light. It is completely feasible to charge a solar panel with LED Lights, nevertheless, it is not as efficient as sunlight but can be opted for.
There are other artificial light sources that can also be used to charge a solar panel.
How Can You Charge A Solar Panel With LED Lights?
The process of charging a solar panel with LED lights is very simple. Once you have your solar panel equipment all you have to do is
- Clean The Solar Panels: Cleaning the solar panel with make sure that maximum light touches the surface of solar panel.
- Placement: Place the solar panels underneath an LED light or as close as possible to ensure maximum output. The closer the panel, the faster the charging is.
- Charging time: LED lights can take up to 10-12 hours to charge your solar panel fully, in absence of sunlight.
Is LED A Better Option To Charge Solar Panels?
LED lights are a good option only when you need them the most. For instance, if you forgot to charge your travel solar panel or when the days are grey, relying completely on LEDs for charging your solar panel is never a good option.
Solar Panels were invented to reduce our carbon footprint, as energy from the sun is free.
However, charging them with LEDs put a high load on electricity which comes from a grid station by burning fossil fuels so it is not cost-effective at all.
Secondly, the efficiency of the sun’s energy can never be replaced with an LED light.
What Are Other Sources Of Light That Can Be Used To charge Solar Panels?
Although artificial light sources are not a good choice to charge a solar panel, there is still a need for them.
Depending on the size and watts produced, you can charge your solar panel with incandescent light bulbs.
Light Bulbs with high watts are more feasible as they will provide more charge.
Placing the solar panel underneath a light bulb will also charge it faster.
Keep the panel 20 inches away from the light bulb to maintain a good distance.
In terms of efficiency, a bright sunny day produces 1000 watts while a regular light bulb produces 40-100 watts.
Reasons To Avoid LED As A Charging Source For Solar Panels
The fact that you can charge your solar panels with LED is inevitable, however, there are certain reasons to avoid it.
- Reduced Efficiency: The whole idea of solar panels is to increase efficiency in terms of energy. Using LED as a charging source reduces the efficiency of solar panels as LED’s output cannot be equal to sunlight’s output.
- Cost-Effectiveness: LEDs are not a cost-effective option because they require electricity to light themselves up which adds up to the cost and power load.
- Increase In Carbon Footprint: LEDs use electricity that comes from a grid station that runs from burning fossil fuels, which results in an increased carbon footprint.
- Solar Energy Is Free: One of the most valid reasons to avoid using LED lights is that solar energy is totally free and renewable.
- Time-Consuming: LEDs consume double the amount of time as compared to sunlight. If the sun’s energy takes 4-5 hours to charge a solar panel, LEDs may take up to 10-12 hours.
Solar panels use the sun’s energy to produce electricity and the best way to charge a solar panel is in the presence of sunlight.
Anyhow there are days when there is no sunlight but the need to charge the solar panel is still there, in such cases solar panels can be charged with LED lights and incandescent bulbs as well.
Though the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of using LED as a charge source are not feasible enough.
In simple words, sunlight is more efficient and takes lesser time to charge a solar panel as compared to an LED light or incandescent light bulb.