Can Artificial Light Charge Solar Panel?

By Kami Turky

Last Updated:

We know that solar panels work best when they are in direct sunlight.

But what if you don’t have access to natural light? Can artificial light charge solar panels?

The short answer is yes!

Artificial lights can charge solar panels. However, the effect would be very small, and it would take an extremely long time to generate enough power for any practical use.

If you are looking for a more detailed answer, then this article is exactly what you are looking for.

In this post, we will cover how solar panels, the difference between artificial and sunlight, and how artificial light can charge solar panels.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

In order to understand how artificial light can charge solar panels, we must first learn how solar panels work.

Light is made up of small particles called photons that carry energy.

This means that when light strikes an object, the photons transfer their energy to that object.

So when sunlight shines on the solar cell, some of these photons hit the solar cell’s atoms’ electrons, giving them enough energy, so they can break free from the atom’s magnetic force in a process called the photoelectric effect.

These free electrons are able to flow through the material to produce electricity.

This process is called the photovoltaic (PV) effect, and it’s exactly how solar panels work!

Related article: How Do Solar Panels Work?

So now that you know this, let us move on to learning about artificial light and its impact on charging solar panels.

What Is The Difference Between Sun Light And Artificial Light?

There are two ways that artificial light differs from natural light.

First, the color spectrum is different.

Second, the intensity of a lamp compared to sunlight will be much lower.

Let’s go through these differences in more detail so we can understand how this affects solar panels and their charging abilities.

1. Photons Spectrum

As we mentioned before, light is made of photons and photons have energy.

However, not all photons have the same level of energy, as the energy of the photon depends on the light’s wavelength (color).

The color spectrum of light is different between artificial lights and the sun.

sun rays energy spectrum

Sunlight contains many different wavelengths (ranges of photons powers), including Gama and UV rays that have high photons power, visible light, in addition to infrared and radio waves.

In contrast, LED lamps or compact fluorescent bulbs mostly emit blue-colored visible light.

So this means that when you charge your panels with artificial light you don’t get the high power photons, which are essential for electricity generation.

As a result, your solar panel will be able to produce only 5% of the amount of energy as natural daylight, which means that it would take at least one hundred times longer than with natural daylight for your solar panels to charge!

2. Intensity Of Artificial Light Compared To Sunlight

This brings us to our second point – the intensity of artificial light compared to sunlight.

When talking about solar panels, one thing that matters is how much sunlight they are exposed to when charging your batteries or powering your home.

The sun emits approximately 1000 Watts per square meter.

We will use this value in our calculations, so please remember it.

Artificial lights have a lower intensity compared to sunlight.

For example, an ordinary lamp emits about 20 Watts per square meter.

This is 50 times less than the intensity of sunlight!

This difference in power is very important because solar panels need photons to produce energy.

So the more intense light has a higher probability of providing enough photons for them to operate – efficiently at least.

All of these factors combine to explain why artificial lights are not powerful enough on their own to charge your solar panel.

So, What Is The Point Of Using Artificial Lights?

Artificial light can produce some power but not a lot, especially when compared to sunlight.

It’s just not bright enough nor does it have the full-spectrum that solar panels need to generate energy

However, it doesn’t mean this won’t work. And sometimes you may want to use artificial light to check if your panels are working in case there is no sunlight.

In fact, that’s exactly what solar manufacturers do to test their solar panels.

So, why don’t they just use sunlight?

Well, there are many reasons but one of the main ones is that it may not be possible for them at all times!

This is because some manufacturers need to check panel performance under a controlled environment, so they can know exactly how the module is performing.

Related article: How To Charge Solar Lights Without Sun?

Last Words

When using artificial light it is important to remember that you just aren’t going to get as much power out of your solar panels.

There are many reasons why you would want to use artificial light.

You may need to test your panel or check its performance if there is no sunlight available for a certain location and time of year.

The final reason would be if you are simply doing research or want to understand how solar panels work.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!

We hope that our article has been helpful and informative. Thank You For Reading! Have a Good Day :)

Kami Turky

Kami is a solar engineer with nearly a decade of experience in researching, testing, and reviewing various solar products.He has also provided technical consultation to several organizations on the best ways to incorporate solar energy into their operations.When he’s not busy helping others find the best solar solutions, Kami enjoys spending time outdoors, hiking, camping, and exploring the natural wonders of his home state.

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