Solar-powered Security Cameras: What You Need To Know


Last Updated on 3 November 2023

How Do Solar-powered Security Cameras Work?

Solar-powered security cameras, commonly called solar panel security cameras, work just like wireless or wire-free outdoor security cameras, except their batteries are charged by the sun. 

Swann solar-powered camera systems have just two main components: outdoor wireless or wire-free security cameras and solar charging panels. The solar charger panels come with adjustable brackets and long USB cables, allowing you to easily place, mount, and angle them for maximum efficiency.

Wireless and wire-free cameras are Wi-Fi enabled, allowing them to transmit audio and video signals wirelessly — without the use of Ethernet or coaxial cables. They can be purchased as part of a complete NVR system or added onto an existing NVR system. Swann even offers wireless and wire-free standalone cameras, which don’t need an NVR recorder at all.

Solar charging panels are used to harness the energy of sunlight, converting it into direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter then transitions the direct current electricity to alternating current (AC) electricity, allowing it to charge the camera’s battery.

Is a Solar-powered Security System Right for You?

In terms of flexibility and convenience, solar-powered security camera systems are second to none, offering several key advantages over traditional wired, powered Wi-Fi, and even wireless or wire-free outdoor security systems. Let’s review how these traditional outdoor security camera systems compare to solar ones:

Comparing Security Systems

  • Wired security systems are hardwired into the home using coaxial or Ethernet (with PoE) cables, so you never have to worry about Wi-Fi connectivity or powering your cameras. However, the installation process can be complicated, and the systems are somewhat inflexible — with camera placement restricted to wherever cables have been installed.
  • Powered Wi-Fi security systems transmit video and audio signals through the home’s Wi-Fi network instead of using coaxial or Ethernet cables, so they aren’t bound to any hardwiring. This gives powered Wi-Fi systems more flexibility, although the cameras still need to be positioned near an outlet — as they need to be plugged into a power source.
  • Wireless or Wire-free security systems also transmit signals through the home’s Wi-Fi network, but instead of getting plugged into a nearby outlet, the cameras use rechargeable batteries for power. This gives them superior flexibility, as they can be positioned practically anywhere. However, you’ll need to take the cameras down and recharge them periodically.

Benefits of Solar-powered Security Cameras

With no coaxial, Ethernet, or power cables — only the USB cable running from the solar charger panel to the camera — solar-powered security camera systems are easy to install. Simply find a place where you’d like to mount your camera and look for a sunny spot within 10 feet of it — commonly next to the camera, on the roof, or around the corner. Once in place, these systems allow you to enjoy a hands-off approach, with no need to unmount and recharge cameras.

Solar-powered security camera systems make a great solution for remote areas or outbuildings where outlets aren’t available, especially if you’re unable to regularly recharge batteries. While the convenience of a flexible set-it-and-forget-it security system can’t be overstated, there are even more benefits to solar-powered security camera systems. Not only are these systems eco-friendly, powering cameras without taxing the energy grid, but you’ll also save money on energy costs.

Drawbacks of Solar-powered Security Cameras

No type of security system is without its drawbacks, and the same is true with solar-powered security cameras. Any kind of Wi-Fi enabled security camera will have some risk of connectivity issues, from susceptibility to power outages to concerns with signal range.

There is also the possibility that the solar charging panels won’t work as intended when light is inadequate, such as when covered by snow or when positioned in a less-than-ideal area.

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar-powered Security Cameras

Do solar-powered cameras work at night?

Yes. Since Swann solar charger panels work to charge the camera batteries, the electricity generated from a substantial amount of daylight will be enough to power cameras through the night.

Do solar security cameras work in winter?

If positioned correctly, Swann solar charger panels should generate enough electricity to power cameras during the winter. Of course, this does depend on where you live, so it’s best to connect to our customer support center if your area experiences less than average daylight during the winter.

Will solar panels charge if not in direct sunlight?

Swann solar charger panels will charge in indirect sunlight, but not as efficiently as they do in direct sunlight. It’s always recommended to seek out as much direct sunlight as possible.

How long do solar cameras last?

Solar-powered security cameras should last as long as any other Wi-Fi enabled cameras. The Swann solar charging panel has a 12 month warranty, though solar panels typically last up to 25 or even 30 years.

Do solar panels need to be cleaned?

Yes, it is recommended to clean solar panels periodically. This helps them function properly, making sure they’re as efficient as possible.

How to Install a Solar-Powered Security Camera System

It’s not difficult to install a solar-powered security camera system. As previously mentioned, it’s best to start by assessing where you’d like your surveillance coverage. Determine where you might be able to mount your camera, and then look to see if there are any sunny areas in the vicinity.

Most likely, you’ll be able to capture direct sunlight somewhere within 10 feet — the length of the USB cable — of your desired camera location. It’s common to mount solar charger panels next to the camera, on the roof above the camera, or even around the corner.

Once you’ve found the ideal place to put the camera and the solar charger panel, simply install the mounts and connect your devices. For more information, check out our handy guide on security system installation.

Shop Swann’s Best Solar-Powered Security Cameras & Systems

Whether you’re interested in a solar charger panel for your existing compatible wireless security camera, a single standalone wireless security camera with a solar panel, or a solar-powered NVR system, Swann makes some of the best solar-powered products on the market. Explore the full collection of Swann solar-powered security cameras now.


    • Hi! Swann products are available at many major retailers, as well as through our website at We ship to home and business addresses in the 48 contiguous United States, all states of Australia, and all regions of the United Kingdom. Thanks for reading and commenting!

Comments are closed.