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Solar Street Lights: How good are they?

Last updated on December 8, 2021

Solar street lights are an elevated light source that is powered by solar panels. These panels charge a rechargeable battery that is connected, which in turn powers a fluorescent or LED lamp.

These solar panels are either mounted on the lighting structure or integrated into the poles themselves.

Due to the sustainability and economic benefits they provide, Solar street lights are becoming increasingly popular. They are commonly used to replace regular street light on roads, runways, stadiums, stations and more.

solar street lights

Components of Solar Street Light

Solar panel:

This is the most important part of our solar street lights, they receive the energy from the sun to be converted into electricity.

They exist in two types, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline.

Monocrystalline and polycrystalline

In order to compare the two different types, the main differences between the two are listed below;

However, it is important to note that they both perform the same function to produce energy from the suns rays.

Monocrystalline

  • Have a higher efficiency than polycrystalline
  • Usually more refined in design and regarded as the premium solar product.
  • They are single-crystal silicon.
  • The conversion rate is high.

Polycrystalline

  • Have a lower efficiency than monocrystalline.
  • More affordable in price than Monocrystalline panels.
  • They are referred to as multi/many crystal silicon.
  • The conversion rate is lower than the monocrystalline.
Solar Street Lights

Lighting Fixture:

LEDs are used in modern solar street light as the source of lighting. LED lights provide a higher luminosity and consume low amounts of energy.

The energy consumption of lightning fixture rate to that of HPS fixture is at least 50% lower.

Rechargeable battery:

The rechargeable battery is another core component of the solar street light. It stores the energy that was converted to electricity from the solar panel during the day in order to be able to provide light at night.

The capacity of a battery is very important to determine the lifetime of the light.

There are two types of batteries for solar street lights

Gel cell deepcycle batteries and lead-acid batteries.

Solar Street Lights

Pole:

If you have ever had the opportunity to look closely, you would notice that each street light always has a seperate pole with a street light attached to it. Ever wondered why?

It is because heavy components are required to create a street solar light and hence, a stable pole is needed to raise the lights.

Advantages of Solar Street Lights

There are several advantages of solar lighting systems but the primary advantage is its ability to self-sustain, hence sometimes referred to as a self-sustaining unit.

A solar light doesn’t require any manual operation such as switching it on or off, as it works automatically, turning off automatically through the utilisation of a sensor and solar panel voltage.

Due to their design, they are able to work throughout the night. The light does not depend on the grid to power it hence, reinforcing the fact they are a self-powered unit.

As they are self-sustaining units, an important note is that solar street lights are capable of illuminating throughout the night regardless of power cuts and bad weather conditions.

Extremely cost-effective

Another significant advantage of solar street lights is the fact that they are cost-effective.

They are a great and effective alternative sustainable option to invest in, if  once one you considers the capital, running, and maintenance costs of these devices.

For one, solar lights are solely dependent on solar energy and hence, there is no need to pay for electricity every month for these lighting systems for as long as there is sufficient sunlight providing energy to the panels.

Unlike, regular street lights, solar street lights offer more long-term benefits.

The lights are wireless and independent of any utility grid so you won’t be spending any costs for installing the lights.

Also, since they are automatic systems and do not require manual handling, one can save costs on maintenance and time.

Environmentally Friendly and Energy Saving

Solar Street Lights

This is one of the biggest advantages of solar street lights, there’s no pollution and it saves on energy.

How?

One, solar doesn’t require the use of any types of fuel, and makes use of solar energy only, as a result, there is no form of air pollution that would be existent in powering other lighting systems.

Solar energy is environmentally friendly and resource-efficient because solar energy is imperishable for as long as there is sufficient sunlight, and is one of the more reliable systems in renewable energy.

As more and more of the human population moves closer to using solar power and solar lighting systems to replace the current use of non-renewable fuels for lighting and inefficient lighting systems, more environmentally positive outcomes will be seen and gradually reduce the need to create and use non-renewable power to power existing and new lighting.

Easy Installation and Easier Setup

Solar street lights are not dependent on electricity. They are independent and are not connected to any electricity provider hence the cabling required to connect the solar panel to the LED is very minimal.

There are also no visible external wires used hence, they pose significantly less to almost no threats of potential electrical accidents, strangulation or overheating problems.

In comparison, traditional street lighting projects and installations require significant materials, time and labour costs that will also require manual maintenance checks frequently especially over a longer period of time.

It is reliable as a stand-alone

Regular street light electricity unlike solar lighting makes great use of intertwined dependent cables.

That simply means that if a problem arises in one part, it can easily affect many other connected parts and in turn, affect the whole system.

This, on the other hand, this does not pose a problem for solar street lighting, considering that each unit is an independent power generating system.

No Extra Cost and Easy Theft of Materials

Laying cables and materials around the area for installation can cost you greatly as cable theft is a fairly common problem especially in more remote areas.

These problems can be prevented or lowered in occurrence through the use of a solar lighting system since each unit is independent and free from any cable connections.

Easy Maintenance and Easier to Handle

Solar street lighting uses an automatic on and off feature. This feature is controlled by a built-in device and the installation process is quite simple and time-saving.

In order to install solar street lighting systems, the only primary thing required is some basic tools and minimal labour for the initial setup. Over time there is limited maintenance required example can be for cleaning the system especially in heavily weather affected areas.

You can easily work with your budget

One of the best things about solar lighting is that you can cut your coat according to your size. There are several types of street solar lights available out there with different features, prices, sizes, capacities, etc.

Each design is created and catered to suit one’s functional needs.

With each year, the technology used in solar lightning grows quickly as researchers and scientists continue working hard to provide better and more efficient systems to the public and private sectors with the best effective solar panels at lower prices.

Disadvantages of Using Solar Street Lights

Solar Street Lights

The biggest disadvantage of solar lights is bad weather conditions. Bad weather can sometimes cause solar lights not to give the optimal backup they are designed to.

Solar street lights are used for numerous locations and purposes including airport lighting, highway and roadway lighting, park lighting, commercial and industrial projects, as well as outdoor security lighting.

More expensive than traditional lights

Solar street lights are initially more expensive than regular street lights. These high costs are not associated with the previously mentioned maintenance and installation costs but with obtaining the system itself.

As solar street lighting systems are relatively new in the space of street lighting, the costs associated with manufacturing and designing these systems especially custom designed systems are very high to purchase.

High risk of theft

There’s a high risk of theft of solar street light compared to regular street lights because of the value they have in the parts they utilise and the fact they are not wired.

Although previously mentioned there is no risk of cable theft that hinder regular street lights, another important component or part can still be stolen from such systems as these components still have a high monetary value.

Dysfunctionality when placed in extreme weather conditions

When placed in extremely harsh weather conditions, solar panels may not function very well and hence, lead to reduced energy production.

Why?

Because snow, dust, or moisture (depending on the weather) can get accumulated on horizontal solar panels affecting its performance from drawing energy from the sun and the performance of the panels.

It is advised to always install panels at an angle to avoid snow, water, or dust accumulation.

However, it is advised to regularly check the panels and other parts of the light to ensure nothing is going wrong and also extend its lifespan.

Replacement of batteries regularly

The modern lithium batteries used in solar street lights have a longer life span compared to other batteries that can be used but that does not necessarily mean they can be used forever.

Repeated uses over time gradually exhausts rechargeable batteries, at which point they will need to be replaced.

In conclusion,

Although there are disadvantages just as there are advantages in using solar street lights, the disadvantages of using solar street lights weigh pretty negligible in comparison to the advantages they provide.

Solar power has come out to be a very reliable, energy-efficient and cost-effective system that provides sustainable energy that contributes to the environment in a clean manner and will gradually replace non-renewable resource based light systems as more efficient and advanced, cheaper versions are developed in the future.

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    E-Green Electrical

    E-Green Electrical are the pioneers in energy efficiency. We specialise in helping our customers reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the environment while saving money.

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