What to Do with Broken Solar Lights: Practical Solutions and Tips

What Happens to Solar Lights Over Time?

If your solar lights are broken, you might be able to fix them by cleaning or adjusting the panels, replacing the batteries, or checking the wiring inside. However, if the lights are damaged beyond repair, consider recycling the parts responsibly or repurposing the materials into a different DIY project.

Lifespan of Solar Lights

Just like any other outdoor gear, solar lights also have a lifespan. Depending on the quality, maintenance and the weather, solar garden lights can typically last for 1-4 years. After this period, the performance might start to decline due to wear and tear and you might be wondering what to do with broken solar lights.

Components of Solar Lights Subject to Damage

A solar light is comprised of several key components; the solar panel, battery, controller board, and light cover. Over time, these components can wear down or get damaged. For instance, the solar panel’s efficiency can drop due to dust, dirt or snow build up.

Understanding the Recyclability of Solar Lights

As we push towards a more sustainable future, it’s important to understand how we can responsibly dispose of or repurpose old equipment.

Can Solar Lights be Recycled Whole?

Not all parts of a solar light are recyclable. Plastic covers or parts might not be suitable for recycling, but components like the solar panel and batteries certainly are. In fact, sometimes these parts can still have life in them and can be repurposed or used in other devices.

Disposal of Non-Recyclable Parts

Disposal of Non-Recyclable Parts

Safety should be your foremost concern, especially when you’re dealing with electronic equipment. If certain parts are non-recyclable, ensure that you dispose of them responsibly. For instance, you can contact your local waste facilities to find out how where to dispose of non-recyclable components.

What to do with Non-Working Solar Lights

Why you Shouldn’t Just Throw Away Solar Lights

Throwing away broken solar lights can contribute to the ever-growing e-waste problem. Moreover, you might be disposing of some valuable resources that can be repurposed.

Proper Disposal of Solar Lights

For parts that cannot be repurposed, consider taking them to a Certified recycling center. This way you can be sure that they are disposed of in line with environmental regulations.

How to Repair Solar Lights

Often, the issues plaguing solar lights are simple ones that can be fixed at home. Check our blog “/how-to-fix-solar-lights” for detailed instructions.

Diagnosing Common Issues

Common issues with solar lights include dirty solar panels, exhausted batteries, or faulty sensors.

Step by Step Repair Process

Step by Step Repair Process

While it’ll take more words than we have space for here, the basic repair process involves diagnosing the problem, acquiring replacements parts where necessary, and reassembling the light.

When to Opt for Repair vs Replacement or Repurposing

If the cost of repairing the solar light is more than half the cost of a new light, it might be wiser to buy a new one.

How to Repurpose Solar Lights

With a little imagination and creativity, you can repurpose solar garden lights to create something beautiful or useful.

Using Solar Panels from Old Lights

Solar panels can be salvaged from old lights and used in different applications such as charging small devices or powering miniature models.

Making Use of Old Solar Light Batteries

Batteries from solar lights can be ergonomically repurposed to power devices like remote controls or weather stations.

Repurposing Solar Light Covers

Repurposing Solar Light Covers

Light covers, especially decorative ones, can be given a new life, and serve as fancy containers or artistic hangings.

Creative Ways to Repurpose Solar Garden Lights

Crafting is a fantastic way to repurpose broken solar garden lights. All you need is an idea, and the internet is full of inspiration.

DIY Projects for Old Solar Lights

Transplant the inner workings into a mason jar to transform your patio into a magical evening wonderland, or use them to light up garden art.

Repurposed Solar Light Ideas: Inspiring Examples from Pinterest

Pinterest is a treasure trove of ideas on what to do with old solar lights to create something unique and inspiring.

Selling or Giving Away Old Solar Lights

Don’t want the parts to go to waste? Consider giving away or selling the useable parts of your light to someone who could put them to good use.


There are numerous options on what to do with broken solar lights. By repairing, recycling, or crafting, you are not just saving money, but also contributing to environmental conservation. So, next time a solar light quits on you, remember – it’s not the end, it’s a new beginning.

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Elliot has 20+ years of experience in renewable technology, from conservation to efficient living. His passion is to help others achieve independent off-grid living.

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