Over the last decade or so, you may have heard a lot about the many different applications of solar street lights.
When you think about it, the locations fit for solar street lights are not as limited as many would suggest. People perceive limitations in solar street light applications caused by weather conditions (lack of sun) and shading. However, the introduction of smart technology and the sheer amount of under performing outdoor lighting units together with remote areas without lights increase the potential for installation of new solar street lights or solar retrofitting.
With the ongoing smartification of cities by applying new energy efficient technologies, implementation of green urban design projects and increasing demand for energy savings you can always find a diverse range of potential applications for solar powered street lights (such as public parking lots, parks, sidewalks, squares, city districts, roads, bicycle lanes and many other).
As with any renewable energy product that comes onto the scene, customers are chiming in with, "Will it function longer and better than other street lights? How to achieve ROI and energy savings in the shortest period possible?"
The short answer is: "Absolutely". The longer answer? Read on to find out what are some of the main urban applications of smart solar street lights (and be sure to follow Lightinus on Facebook and Twitter for more info on this topic!).
SMART SOLAR STREET LIGHTS: LONG-TERM COST SOLUTION FOR CITIES
Cities, Municipalities and Urban Planning Departments dwell on energy efficiency, effective transportation and communication, waste management, security and high quality of public services for citizens. In this regard, the implementation of Smart City Initiatives is perfectly aligned with the benefits that smart solar street lights bring to the table. Introduction of intelligent technology in combination with clean energy sources results in long-term sustainability and improved public services. Modernizing street lighting infrastructures is part of many successful Smart City Projects: read the following article on 6 cities that achieved significant improvements through smart technology and green energy practices.
Today, we still have over 300 million traditional street light installations which generate high energy cost and are highly inefficient, do not deliver reliable illumination, require high maintenance and high installation cost and produce CO2 emissions. The opportunity cost of not improving public street lighting infrastructures is rising exponentially. To illustrate, 33% of all European street lights still use standards developed in the 1930s, which require costly on-site maintenance and allocation of lots of resources. According to a pilot research at city level in North America taking into account 190,000 traditional street lights, given that sodium bulbs have a life span of 5 years, the replacement and maintenance cost for each bulb is 330 USD, which means that on average the city replaces 38,000 lamps per year. The total maintenance cost for this activity amounts to 12.5 million USD per annum.
Can you imagine the savings that could be accomplished by solar retrofitting or installing smart solar street lights (either completely off-grid or solar/on-grid) in urban areas? Actually, we can calculate energy savings from using solar street lights based on the following information about your existing street light network:
- Purchase Price per pole
- Installations Cost per pole
- Average Electricity Cost per year
- Average Maintenance Cost per year
SMART SOLAR STREET LIGHTS: LED AND CLEAN ENERGY FOR BOOSTING SAVINGS
Traditional street lights are expensive, typically consuming about 40% of a city’s total electricity costs. Switching to LED street lights with remote control systems can provide the same amount of lighting ( even better) at just a fraction of the energy used, while decreasing significantly the maintenance costs. Solar LED street lights on the other hand, facilitate even more the energy efficiency case for cities. They can provide the same features as grid tied LED street lights plus limitless clean energy power that will further reduce the energy costs at city level. To read more on the differences between traditional and solar street lights read this blog.
The City of Barcelona achieved 30 percent energy savings by implementing smart technology across their urban lighting system. Light on demand is the key concept in generating energy savings and increasing the optimization of your solar system. Dimming the light from 100% to 50% in late hours during the night, can make a huge difference in millions of euros from increased energy efficiency. Motion sensors make sure that when someone walks by the street light, the LED light is again at 100% for couple of minutes. Reduction in wasting energy for light is as important as preserving other precious resources.
Just as with any economies of scale scenario, it is a game of numbers - as the number of smart solar street light installations increases over the city area, the percentages of energy savings will increase and the maintenance costs will decrease. Also, in areas without access to electric grid networks, the installation cost of new solar street light is much lower than the cost of extending the grid access for conventional street lights.
REMOTE MONITORING AND CONTROL: MAKING LIFE EASIER FOR URBAN OPERATORS
Remote management system is the key to always knowing what is going on with each component of your off-the-grid solar lighting system. With no remote monitoring tools in place, you would always have to send a technician to check each unit on-site and you will never have in-depth information in real-time on your system status. The better monitoring and control you have of your solar lighting system, the more savings you will have from free clean energy.
With optimized solar LED street lighting system you will experience economies of scale of light performance and higher reliability than traditional street lights, better illumination, decreased maintenance costs (no need to replace bulbs and allocate resources for expensive on-site system checks) no CO2 emissions, free energy, remote control and monitoring functions that will boost your ROI. Over a 15 year period, smart solar street lights can generate combined savings (including free energy generation, energy savings through optimization and increased light performance as well as reduced maintenance costs) between 1500-2000 USD per street light unit. These economic benefits are followed by modernizing your public lighting infrastructure, streamlining the work of urban operators and decreasing the city's CO2 emissions. Everything you need to know about how to increase solar street light performance and reliability is available here.
REDUCED CO2 EMISSIONS
Take the following fact into consideration as well. The use of electricity to drive conventional outdoor lighting leads to production of carbon dioxide. If global traditional street lights were converted to solar street lights, this would reduce global electricity consumption for lighting by more than 52%, avoiding 735 million tons of CO2 each year. The Paris Climate Agreement is seriously tackling such issues and cities are the biggest greenhouse gas emitters.
DECISION MAKING: TIPS BEFORE CONSIDERING SMART SOLAR STREET LIGHTS
Here you can find the most important questions and details that may help you save money and improve your decision making process when implementing solar street light project. You need to know all the positive and negative aspects of the solar LED lighting system, how it functions and how smart technology can ensure performance reliability and cost efficiency over the product lifetime. Asking the right questions to your solar street light provider is crucial!
IMPROVING URBAN LIFE: SMART SOLAR STREET LIGHT DIVERSE APPLICATIONS
Public street lighting is a valuable resource with long-term implications for urban areas. Below are the potential applications of smart solar street lights for cities and municipalities. Implementing state-of-the-art solar powered street light accelerates the use of intelligent technology and clean energy across many sectors.
Smart Solar Street Lighting Applications:
- Public Parking Lots
- Children Playgrounds
- City Districts
- Bicycle Lanes
- Bus Stations
- Schools and Universities
- Administrative Office Areas
After reading this blog, do you think that smart solar street lights can improve urban infrastructures and provide better public services? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.