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How Solar Powered Street Lights Work?
Lighting up public places like streets, roads, and parks is a necessity. The lights provide a sense of security in the dark of night. However, these street lights consume lots of energy. Only in the United States, street lights consume the same amount of energy as 1.9 million households. The street lights are also responsible for generating carbon emissions equivalent to 2.6 million cars.
An alternative to this that has really caught on in a few states recently is the use of solar-powered street lights. Solar street lights are not only energy and cost-effective but are also environmentally-friendly.
Let’s take an in-depth look at how solar street lights generate the energy required and how they help the environment.
If we are to put it into layman’s terms, solar street lights work by converting solar energy into electricity. Solar lights are dependent on the photovoltaic cells(solar cells) which absorb solar energy in the daytime. The cells then convert solar energy into electric charge and store that electricity charge into the battery. The charged battery is what allows solar street lights to work at night.
An interesting thing is that there are different types of solar street lights you can use. The most common are the LED solar lights, other kinds include:
Sodium vapor street lights. These lights use sodium as a light source. Sodium is kept in an excited state and discharges the light it stored during daytime exposure to the sun.
Induction-technology based street lights use lamps that don’t have filaments. This prevents the lamps from getting damaged and prolongs their lifetime. Induction based lights also have a lower maintenance cost and generate less heat.
LED Solar Lights
Now we take a closer look at the most used solar street lights; LED solar street lights.
LED solar lights have LED lamps i.e. light-emitting diode lamps. The LED lamps have a special material that produces light when direct current passes through the diode.
LED lights are preferred over other types because of several reasons. LED solar lights are available in various sizes and designs. LED lights are more durable as compared to Sodium and Induction-technology street lights. LED solar-street lights can last for as long as 50,000 hours and they use less energy as well. This allows them to use smaller panels as well which makes their overall cost very low as compared to other solar street lights.
LED solar lights depend on the photovoltaic effect which converts solar energy into electricity. This happens when negatively-charged electrons carry solar energy into positively-charged spaces in the photovoltaic cells.
This process transfers solar energy into electrons which generates a direct current. The direct current is then stored into a battery connected to the panels using wires. When night time arrives and the sun goes down, the lights use this charge to continue lighting up the streets.
Sensors are the reason that solar street lights work so efficiently. There are sensors installed in the solar street light fixtures which control the working of the solar lights. These sensors control when the solar lights will be turned on and off depending on the intensity of daylight. They also control the radiance levels of the lights depending on time and sunlight intensity.
The time control feature makes sure the LEDs don’t start shining at 100% when the sun barely goes down. For example, they work at 50% radiance at sunset time and work their way up as time passes. So, the radiance level may increase to 80% at 7:00 pm and 100% at 9:00 pm. Simply, the light will get brighter as the night gets darker.
An important component that makes solar street lights work is their rechargeable battery. Solar street lights have a battery attached to their fixtures. During the daytime when the sun is shining, the solar cells can generate electricity from solar energy and power up the lights.
However, at night these solar cells cannot generate any energy and that is where the battery comes in. During the daytime, the cells generate electricity and also charge the battery simultaneously. If not for the fully charged battery, the solar street lights won’t work at night at all.
With the above guide, you now hopefully have a basic idea of how solar street lights work. The guide also describes a couple of components that help the solar street lights run efficiently and without any problems.
Street lights are a necessity, they are very important for the safety and security of the people but they consume too much energy. However, solar street lights have provided a cost-effective and green alternative to street lighting.
It feels good to see the strides we are taking towards switching to a renewable energy source that doesn’t have any adverse effects on our environment. There is still a long way to go and hopefully, we will get there soon.
What Are the Benefits of Solar Street Lights?
The key benefit is the environmentally friendly solution. After installing solar street lights, users can rely on solar energy to power up the streets and other public spaces. As mentioned above, solar street lights are more advanced now. When it comes to the benefits, there are many.
In traditional lighting, people rely on the grid for energy. During the blackouts, there will be no light. However, sunlight is available everywhere, and it is abundant in many parts of the world. Sunlight is the leading renewable energy in the world. The upfront cost might be a bit more. However, once the installation is done, the expense will be less. In the current condition, solar power is considered the cheapest source of the energy.
As it comes with an in-built battery system, you can power up the streets when sunlight is not available. Also, the batteries are recyclable and will not harm the environment.
Solar street lights are cost-effective. There is not much difference between the installation of the off-grid solar and grid system. The key difference is that meters will not be installed in solar street lights. Installing a meter will contribute to the end cost. Also, trenching the grid power will increase the installation cost.
While installing a grid system, some barriers such as underground utilities and the root system might cause interruptions. The electric trenching will be an issue if a lot of obstacles are there. However, you will not experience this problem while using solar street lights. Users just need to set a pole wherever they want to install a solar street light.
Solar street lights are maintenance-free. They use photocells, and that minimizes the maintenance requirements significantly. During the daytime, the controller keeps the fixture off. When the panel does not produce any charge during dark hours, the controller turns on the fixtures. Also, the batteries come with five to seven years of durability. The rainwater will clean the solar panels. The shape of the solar panel makes it maintenance-free as well.
No Energy Bill
With solar street lights, there will be no energy bill. Users will not have to pay the power bill every month. That is going to make a difference. You can use the energy without paying monthly energy bills.
Solar street lights can meet the lighting needs of communities. The high-quality solar street lights will boost the look and feel of the city. The upfront cost might be a bit more.
However, there will be no blackouts and energy bills. As the operating cost will be zero, the community members can spend more hours in the park and public places. They can enjoy their favorite activities under the sky without bothering about the power bill. Also, lighting will minimize criminal activities and create a better and safer environment for people.
What Is Solar Street Light?
Solar street lights are street lights powered by sunlight. Solar lights use solar panels. Solar panels use sunlight as an alternative source of the energy. The solar panels are installed on the pole or the lighting structure. The panels will charge the rechargeable batteries and these batteries will power up the street lights at night.
In the current condition, solar street lights are well-designed to serve uninterruptedly with minimal intervention. These lights are powered by in-built batteries. Solar lights are considered cost-effective. Also, they will not harm your environment. These lights will light up the streets and other public spaces without relying on the grid. Solar lights are highly appreciated for some advanced features. These are well-suited for both commercial and residential applications. They look impressive and last long without much maintenance.