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Can You Use Regular Batteries in Solar Lights?

Written by K. Miller / Fact checked by J. Fussell

Can You Use Regular Batteries in Solar Lights

Similar to other electronic devices, a solar light’s rechargeable battery must be replaced.

And, the big question is: can you use regular batteries in solar lights? Honestly, the quick answer to this question is no. While NiCd and NiMH are the main types of batteries used for solar lights, alkaline batteries can serve as alternatives for solar lights if you’re going to use them for only a short time.

Please be guided that it is not recommended to keep regular batteries on solar lighting units for more than a week.

We’ll provide you some information to help you choose the right solution for your drained solar light batteries in this post.

Solar Light Batteries Versus Regular Batteries: Which is a Better Option?

The batteries used for solar lights are generally recharged daily when the solar panels absorb solar energy. Due to this, they can provide a sustainable and more cost-effective method of conserving energy.

Notwithstanding, similar to other cells, solar light batteries deplete. So, you’ll need to replace them eventually. Luckily, you can instantly find battery replacements to fix your solar-powered lights.

As you might already know, all electronic devices utilize batteries for them to be able to store power. Take note that each battery comes with specifications for the power it can carry. For example, if the battery can be recharged, or where the battery should be utilized.

Batteries used for solar-powered lights are specifically designed to store power from sunlight and dispense it at dusk. Meanwhile, regular batteries like alkaline batteries are not particularly manufactured for recharging.

As such, these types of batteries are not recommended to be used for solar lights, especially for an extended period.

In case these batteries can damage your solar lights, then you should consider lights like outdoor solar lanterns or solar deck lights which are also one of the more durable solar lights.

Why are Regular Batteries Not Recommended to be Used for Solar Lights for a Long Time?


If you are wondering why regular batteries are not recommended for solar lights, especially for long periods of usage, the following are a few of the reasons why:

Permanent System Failure

Incapability to store the accumulated charge and charging issues can lead to permanent system damages.

In other words, regular batteries can damage the different components of your solar lighting units. This commonly depends on the quality and type of battery you install.

Deterioration of Terminals

As mentioned, regular batteries are not primarily intended for solar lighting systems because you need to dispose of them right away when they run out of charge.

Hence, if you utilize regular batteries on your solar lighting system, this could instantly deplete the charge and charge issues and deteriorate terminals.

Unsteady Performance

Generally speaking, regular batteries can only provide power to your solar-powered lights for a short time. Because they aren’t engineered explicitly for solar lighting systems use, they aren’t dependable to use. They won’t work more efficiently like NiCd and NiMH batteries.

If you use regular batteries on your solar lights, expect sudden power drain, blinking lights, and other unwanted occurrences.

Nullified Warranty

Solar-powered lighting units typically come with an extended warranty. Nevertheless, it is necessary to adhere to the terms and arrangements of the manufacturer. This may include utilizing the recommended battery replacements.

You nullify the warranty and won’t have coverage for any defect the batteries caused to your solar lighting units by using regular cells.

When is It Okay to Use Regular Batteries on Solar Lights?

The only scenarios you can opt for using regular batteries in your solar-powered lights include:

When solar light batteries deplete abruptly

Old age, power surges, and many other circumstances can lead to abrupt depletion of battery capacity to hold a charge.

In the event your solar fixtures abruptly go off and it is impossible to find a quick replacement, you can utilize regular batteries for the day or night.

This is primarily a good resort if you have an overnight outdoor gathering that relies on indoor garden lights or solar-powered lamps that bank on artificial solar lights.

Using regular batteries in such circumstances to satisfy your current lighting requirements and replace them with appropriate models as soon as probable is a great solution.

When looking for recommended battery replacements

Surely, it is essential to keep extra NiCd and NiMH batteries that are recommended for your solar lighting system. This is to ensure they’re accessible in case you’ll need them.

For all that, if your solar light batteries are impaired and you’re still looking for replacements, a standard battery could keep your lights on for a few days. Make sure to utilize regular batteries no longer than one week.

When testing the solar lighting system

Utilizing old batteries on your solar-powered unit is not recommendable. Regardless, if you have an extra set of alkaline batteries, a day or two on the solar-operated lights could aid you in draining the power.

Chiefly, this can be practical if your solar-powered fixtures are not as bright as they should be, or you’re wondering whether an impaired battery is the culprit.

When fixing or changing solar lighting units and panels

At times, the batteries for your solar-powered lights are not the cause of lighting problems. Just like other electronic devices, your solar lights also get worn out, so experiencing charging issues is inevitable.

You can utilize regular batteries while arranging the required replacements and repairs if your panels could not charge the batteries. But, be sure to use the recommended solar light batteries once your unit is fixed.

The Difference Between NiMH and NiCd Batteries


NiCd rechargeable batteries usually suffer more than NiMH batteries when it comes to the memory effect because the latter does not have a memory effect. If NiCd batteries are charged before they are entirely flat, the succeeding charge would be lower than the one before.

Hence, if you continuously charge NiCd batteries before they are completely depleted, it would reach a degree that they will no longer hold any charge.

As for the impact on the environment, NiCd batteries are composed of a dangerous element called cadmium. Therefore, such batteries must be properly disposed of.

Meanwhile, NiMH batteries are eco-friendly options because they are free of hazardous elements. Due to this, you won’t have a guilt feeling because you can dispose of them without worrying about contributing to our planet’s pollution problems.

Lastly, in terms of capacity, you can enjoy more benefits if you use NiMH batteries. NiMH batteries are adept at storing more solar power compared to regular NiCd batteries.

So, if you want to guarantee extended output times and more excellent lighting, getting NiMH batteries is a better option. Now, you know why more consumers prefer NiMH batteries over NiCd batteries.


Hopefully, we were able to help you provide an answer to the question: can you use regular batteries in solar lights? As stated, solar-powered lights are generally designed to be compatible with rechargeable batteries.

While you can temporarily resort to regular batteries when the situation calls for it, the best course of action is to have extra rechargeable NiCd or NiMH batteries with you. This post would like to reiterate the potential risks of utilizing regular batteries on your solar lighting systems.

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