In the past decade, we have seen renewable energy technologies and practices are gradually entering our daily lives. It blends into our society and provides subtle differences in everyday life such as cars, thermostats, and even lighting and control. On a larger scale, we see geothermal energy for large buildings, rainwater harvesting and recycling, and even solar LED lighting that is not connected to the grid. In fact, the efficiency provided by LEDs has brought new life to solar energy. Here we will introduce the benefits and challenges of implementation.
Solar outdoor lighting has emerged from other technologies, not only providing the necessary lighting for our daily lives, but also reminding facility users and others to consider sustainability in their facility design. Solar outdoor lighting can “communicate” when illuminated, delivering information about environmental management to relevant companies and organizations, builders, developers and lighting designers.
Due to advances in solar panel, battery and LED technology, commercial solar outdoor lighting is now more reliable than grid-connected systems and provides higher quality lighting at lower cost. In fact, the cost of solar outdoor lighting benefits from the synergies of technological innovation in three key areas:
• Solar panel costs are falling
The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) pointed out that the cost of photovoltaic panels has fallen sharply in recent years and has fallen by 60% since the beginning of 2011.
• Improvements in battery technology
The growth in the hybrid and electric vehicle markets has improved battery technology, resulting in a compact, efficient and longer-lasting rechargeable battery.
• LED efficiency is increasing.
LED lighting efficiency is also increasing, which means more light, or higher efficiency (higher lumens per watt) with less power, which is equivalent to the same cost of lighting output. .
Due to these trends, commercial solar outdoor lighting is now more economical than grid-connected in many cases. This includes situations where the existing power infrastructure is remote or non-existent, such as security and green space construction around, or reluctance to change existing roads or landscapes (such as parking lots, roads, outdoor storage areas, park playgrounds, and campuses). ). In these cases, the installation of a solar LED lighting system can be implemented immediately, avoiding the trenching, wiring and other costs associated with installing new grid-connected lighting systems. In addition, the use of solar LED lights, during the service life of more than 25 years, will not have any electricity bills, which can save costs in the next few decades.
However, for many companies and organizations that choose solar LED lighting, cost savings are often second, and green energy is more advantageous. Commercial solar outdoor lights do not use fossil fuels and do not produce carbon dioxide emissions, so they have a commitment to protecting the environment and national energy security.
Many companies and organizations use commercial solar outdoor lighting to meet the sustainability goals set by the Sustainable Development Infrastructure Institute (ISI) assessment system. Solar LED lights can also be used to meet the sustainability goals of a particular building, meet Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) objectives, or earn points from the US Green Building Council's LEED program. Through solar LED lighting, each lamp becomes a small advertisement for environmental responsibility, which is not possible with traditional marketing tools because it expresses promises in action rather than words.
Design a sustainable system
Although technical issues need to be addressed when considering commercial solar outdoor lighting systems, the design of the system boils down to three aspects:
• How much light do you need?
• How much solar energy can I collect?
• When do you need lighting?
Regarding the first question, many companies, organizations, and governments are surprised by the clear, high-quality light that high-throughput LEDs provide in solar outdoor lighting applications. In addition, new LED technology enhances control, greatly reducing spillage and glare, and providing a more efficient illumination distribution. For example, conventional high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps or metal halide lamps (MH) directly form a pattern of light directly beneath the luminaire, while LEDs can project light in a wider, more uniform pattern that can be produced along the road. Intermittent light flow, as well as allowing maximum pole pitch, which reduces costs.
Regarding the question of "how much solar energy", the amount of solar energy is measured by "equivalent sunshine hours". The maximum (or 100%) sunlight received by a solar panel in one hour is equal to a full daylight. Although the sun may exceed the horizon for 14 hours a day at a particular location, the number of full-sunlights may be as low as six hours a day due to the angle of the sun and the loss in the atmosphere. In order for the system to achieve the desired performance, the design needs to be based on the minimum amount of sunshine available. For this reason, solar LED lights are usually designed for each specific project. However, since commercial solar outdoor lighting typically has sufficient battery power to supply at least five nights of light, the solar lighting system can operate effectively in all daylight environments.
The final question is to define how to control the lighting system. Unlike traditional commercial outdoor lighting, LEDs offer more flexibility in control. In addition to setting the on/off time, the LEDs also allow dimming, and when no one is present, use a motion sensor to turn off the light (or turn the light from light to dark).
These factors affect the size of solar panels, batteries, luminaires, and the number of poles required, which can affect costs. Investing time to understand local specific needs and any applicable local method orders can save significant design costs. To ensure that you design a system that is as expected, it is best to seek advice from a lighting consultant or an experienced solar lighting manufacturer.
To ensure that you design a system that is as expected, it is wise to seek advice from a lighting consultant or an experienced solar lighting manufacturer.