More solar street lights are being installed around the world, and they are gradually taking over as the preferred way to illuminate the streets at night, but what are the differences? Why are solar street light systems being used now rather than bringing in power and using a traditional street light? Here are some of the differences and reasons why these new systems are so popular. Solar street light systems from top 10 solar street light manufacturer are classified into two types: off-grid and grid-tied. Off grid solar lights use no grid power and generate their own self-sustaining power on each pole, resulting in a zero electric bill for the life of the system. Grid-connected solar lighting systems feed power from solar panels to the grid. These systems are typically sized for NET Zero system design, which means they generate enough power during the day to compensate for the electrical usage of the lights at night. Both solar street light system designs consider multiple aspects of a project, including available sun, required lighting levels, spacing, fixture wattage, and backup power (off grid only).
Most modern solar-powered street lights are affixed with LED lights or built-in with LEDs. LEDs can be coloured in order to reach the desired CRI, making them resemble sunlight as closely as possible and increasing night-time visibility as a result of the process. Traditional street lights usually have metal halide lamps which are nowhere close to beating the visibility offered by solar-LED street lights. For many years, traditional street lights have failed to meet any of these requirements. A 250-400 Watt metal halide lamp is typically used inside a traditional Cobrahead fixture. Spacing, light levels, and even power consumption are not considered. Things are beginning to change as technology advances and public awareness of climate change and energy conservation grows. With new pole installations, even traditional street lights are beginning to take more into account of what the solar lighting industry has been doing for decades.
Traditional street lights are gradually being replaced by newer LED fixtures, which require much less maintenance and provide better power efficiency. Much lower wattages can now easily replace the old style fixtures. Furthermore, with new LED technology, optics can be used to provide task-specific lighting on the ground rather than old-style refractors that simply blast light in all directions.
In comparison, what does all of this mean? If you have grid-connected electrical lights, the most cost-effective way to offset or reduce your power consumption is to switch to LED fixtures and even install solar panels to feed the grid during the day. Off grid solar lighting systems are the way to go if you are dealing with a new project or an area where grid power does not already exist and/or is difficult to bring in.
Various types of fixtures have traditionally been used; however, with LEDs becoming more widely available in various fixtures, the use of more decorative style fixtures is now possible with solar lighting applications. Solar power LEDs typically have a power range of 20 to 50 watts and produce the same amount of light as traditional high-powered fixtures. LEDs produce more light and allow for greater visibility than before, while their long life reduces maintenance requirements.
Finally, knowing your needs and understanding the cost differences between going solar, NET Zero, and installing traditional electrical lights will help you decide on the best course of action. Using LED fixtures in all new installations ensures that the least amount of power is consumed while achieving the best light levels. It's amazing how far technology has come in the last few decades; I can't wait to see where it'll be in the next 10 to 20 years.