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Solar Lighting Solutions are Bound to Make an Impact on Your Business

Posted by SEPCO

10/30/14 9:30 AM

Solar lighting solutionsSolar lighting solutions can positively impact a business for a few different reasons. Here are three, but I’m sure there are more. Feel free to add yours below.

 

Impact your bottom line

Solar lighting solutions will impact your bottom line, especially in the long term. Installing solar in the initial build phase of a business will do the most impact in regards to the bottom line. The solar lights reduce the cost of wiring parking lots and entrance roadways with standard electric. They also allow for the addition of lights on existing areas that do not have access to the electric grid. Replacement of existing electric does not have the initial financial impact since the purchase of the solar lighting systems can be costly; however, when looking at the long term ROI of the solar project, and comparing that to electrical costs that rise year after year, the savings will add up in the long run.

 

Impact your green initiative

Is your business looking to be greener and have less of an impact on the environment? Solar lighting solutions provide just that. Since the systems are off the grid, they use no power to operate the fixtures and have a zero carbon impact. The systems charge during the day and operate from the solar charged batteries at night. The system is completely self-contained and practically maintenance free with the implementation of LEDs, there is little costs past initial installation. The only thing to worry about is changing of batteries, but these are also recyclable so there is much less impact there.

 

Impact your image with your customers

Image is always top on the list of any business; you always want to attract customers to your place. With the climate change awareness that is happening today, people prefer to use greener companies and local businesses over other types of companies. Showcasing the green initiative to your customers by using solar lighting, along with using solar to help offset your actual building electrical usage, will impact you image positively to your customers. It shows how you are looking out for our future and doing your part to lessen your impact on the earth.

What other impacts on a business would solar have? Let me know in the comments below.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Street Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting, Pathway Lighting

Outdoor Solar Lighting Solutions to Exterior Illumination Needs

Posted by SEPCO

10/23/14 3:27 PM

Outdoor Solar Lighting Solutions Parking LotWe've become a very energy conscious society these days, going from fossil fuels and the old format of electricity to more renewable resources. One of the most popular areas to make this change has been in the area of lighting. Standard electric is great but can get quite costly over time, as a result people are starting to turn toward an outdoor solar lighting option in order to recoup some of the money they've been spending in order to light their locations. Going solar is the best move in many cases, but there are other things to consider when you're taking the leap from one lighting option to another. Probably the biggest question to ask is what the application of your lighting will be, is this something that is being used to light a parking lot at a business, are you putting up lights along the side of a road that will help drivers see where they're headed at night, or are you putting up lighting in a public park so that people taking a walk in the night hours can see their way along the path? Depending on the location you'll have to weigh the options, once you've made a decision to go solar, the choice of lighting styles becomes a bit easier.

When you're trying to light a parking lot you're going to need some seriously high powered bulbs for the job. You're lighting an incredibly large area, with the one positive being that it's mostly wide open spaces. The goal is to keep the entire area lit up, leaving as little room for dark spaces as possible. If you're running a store this is mandatory because it means a bit more safety for your customer base. The most popular lighting for a parking lot is typically going with large area lights. These give you the choice of CFL style bulbs, Metal Halide, and the increasingly popular LED light option. As long as you're going an outdoor solar lighting any option is great, but you're going to want to lean more toward the LED in most cases as it provides amazing light while burning less energy, and lasting longer than your other choices. While CFL is good, they just can't compete with the luminosity put out by an LED bulb. When combined with a solar setup you're looking at the absolute best energy option available.

Outdoor Solar Lighting Solutions Park LightingLighting a park is another interesting scenario as it requires a bit more intimate lighting than what you would use for a parking lot. You're going to want to have lighting closer to ground level, something that's going to be used to light up a walkway instead of looking to light the entire area around said park. Once again you have to select LED versus CFL and Metal Halide light bull options, you'll have to look decide which one works best for your location. The fun part of park lighting is less in the bulb style and more in selecting the appearance you want for your lights. Many locations these days are going for the more classic column with a canister on top, a touch of old world style with modern LED bulbs. It gives you a great blend of past and present, lighting the way toward the future. No matter what decision you make, as long as you're focused on going with solar lighting solutions, you'll be coming out as the winner in your project. With the breakthroughs in solar cell production in recent years it's bound to get even better as time ticks forward, keep your finger on the pulse and all will go well.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting, Pathway Lighting

Solar Flood Light for Large Area Lighting and Safety

Posted by SEPCO

9/11/14 9:30 AM

Solar Flood LightIt is costly to light large areas such as parking lots, parks, and other open spaces, yet the benefits of lighting such areas are obvious as it gives users safe access, the ability to see where they are going, and to act as a deterrent against crime.

Solar-powered flood lighting provides an affordable alternative to mains-powered flood lighting; installation costs are much lower, running costs are negligible, and systems can be adapted to suit clients' needs.

Large Area Lighting

The provision of lighting for large open areas where people congregate for social and other activities is important. Typical examples are public parking lots at malls and airports, industrial and commercial sites, and recreational areas. Lighting levels need to be sufficient to give users and security personnel sufficient light to use and observe these areas with reasonable ease. This is readily achieved with the use of a solar flood light installation as lights can be installed where required.

Safety

Public safety is enhanced by the provision of flood lighting of open areas, particularly during winter when days are short and people need to commute, shop, and transport children while it is dark. The provision of adequate lighting is important to ensure safety of personnel and to protect property. It also plays a role in the prevention of accidents and injury. A solar flood light system is an economical solution to providing safety and security lighting for public outdoor areas.

Illumination Levels

Illumination levels are an important consideration when specifying a solar flood light system. The use of low energy bulbs such as LEDs and compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) reduces the current draw, but it's important to carefully evaluate desired illumination levels as this affects the cost of the solar equipment.

One method is to adjust illumination levels automatically through the use of motion detectors that permit running the lamp at low power and switching to full power when there is activity near them. Alternatively, lights can be switched off for certain periods and activated by motion sensors.

Power Supply Packs

A solar flood light is powered by a battery charged by a solar panel. The battery must be sized to provide adequate power while the lights are on. The size of the solar panel will be selected so as to provide sufficient charge to the battery at all times, taking cognizance of reduced solar charging periods during winter and cloudy weather.

Light Fixtures

The selection of the light fixture is based on the required illumination level, height of the light fixture, and the period the lamp must be lit. If high levels of illumination are required, the choice may include high pressure sodium, metal halide, or LED fixtures; don't forget to take into account the higher power requirements of some of these lamps. CFL and LED fixtures would be chosen if lower illumination levels are required. If lamps need to be dimmed, LED is the best choice.

Benefits of Solar Flood Lighting

Solar flood lighting provides many benefits over conventional mains-powered lighting. Lamps can be situated wherever they are needed without having to worry about the complexities of running mains power to the fixture, and their installation obviates the need for expensive trenching, conduits, and subsequent pavement repairs. Despite the higher price of a complete solar flood light module, this translates into lower installation costs and negligible operational costs. Maintenance is limited to replacement of failed lamps and the battery every five years. SEPCO has many years of experience in the design and installation of solar flood lighting systems and will provide interested customers with a free project analysis on request. 

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Security Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting, Area Lighting

Solar Parking Lot Retrofit for St Augustine Beach Pier Park

Posted by SEPCO

7/15/14 9:30 AM

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In January of 2012 the City of St Augustine Beach issued plans for the re-lighting of the Pier Park parking lot. The project was officially called “City of St Augustine Beach FL Pier Park lighting retrofit” for the parking lot. The City had just recently completed the construction of a community pavilion and a new sea / beach walkway that ran between the parking lot and beach. The previous use for the area was just a parking lot for access to the pier. With the addition of the pavilion and walkway, with the pier, the area now has a park setting where families can enjoy the beach and picnic in the pavilion. The City also now uses the area for community events, such as arts shows, small outdoor concerts and food events.

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SEPCO worked together with WFLI in Jacksonville to complete the lighting design for the City of St Augustine Beach. The existing lighting consisted of randomly placed 20ft wood poles that had 100 watt high pressure sodium cobra-head style lighting fixtures mounted to them. The new lighting design approach was to use full cut-off LED fixtures of a contemporary style to compliment the pavilion and new landscaping with the following design considerations:

  •          Appropriate pole and luminaire mounting heights.
  •          Pole shape that allowed for various mounting conditions.
  •          Height of solar panels.
  •          Height of adjacent palm trees.
  •          Light source color for general parking area and turtle friendly areas.
  •          Orientation of site on north-south axis.
  •          Luminaire  requirements of having AC and DC drivers.

The height of the new palm trees was determined to be approximately 22 to 24 feet. Our design intent was to have the height of the solar panels be just above the height of the palm trees to ensure sunlight was not blocked. The six poles that had the solar arrays mounted on top of them were 5ft higher than the other AC powered poles. The mounting height of the luminaires was to be 15ft for all fixtures. A round tapered concrete pole was selected for is durability and appearance. This shape pole also allowed for proper southward facing solar panels regardless of which direction the luminaire faced.

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The overall project requirements called for 38 LED fixtures, 6 of which were the amber LED.  Along the sea walkway, the lighting there was to utilize the same LED fixture but using amber LED’s to comply with the turtle friendly lighting requirements. The light levels were designed to IESNA recommendations of 1.0fc average. The LED fixture selected used 73 watts of power. The LED driver used in the fixture was standard 0-10 volt dimming. A 5K color temperature with CRI of 80 was used for the parking area and a 2K color 580nm amber LED used for the sea walk area.

The City had applied to the Department of Energy for a grant to utilize solar power for a portion of this project. They were awarded a grant which allowed them to have 6 of the 38 LED fixtures powered by solar array panels. The 6 fixtures selected for solar power were the ones in the middle of the parking lot as they were the first to be seen upon entry to the parking lot. The project shows the Cities desire to promote “green” initiatives and integrate solar powered lighting as often as possible.

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In addition to the use of LED lighting, part of the project scope was to use a lighting control system that allowed automatic control of the light levels for the standard AC wired fixtures.The AC light fixtures, due to their use of the grid power, dim to 50% intensity part of the night to reduce the standard electrical power consumption. The off grid solar lights utilize enough energy from the solar to provide 100% intensity all night without using any energy from the grid.

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Topics: SEPCO News & Information, Parking Lot Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

6 Steps for Businesses Who Are Ready to Light Their Parking Lots

Posted by SEPCO

5/29/14 9:30 AM

Parking_Lot

Want to provide more safety and security to customers and employees? Provide good lighting to prevent theft and vandalism. Here are six steps to completing a lighting project for a business parking lot.

Step 1 – Identify the area that is requiring lighting

What is the total size of your parking lot? How many cars can it fit? Does the parking lot wrap around your building or is it just to the front? Identifying the entire area that needs to be lit is the first step in the design process whether the parking lot already exists or is still in development and design phases.

Step 2 – Determine how long the lights need to operate

Is your business open all night or just until 10pm? When do the employees go home? When does it open in the morning? Does the parking lot require all night lighting or can they shut off a couple hours after your business closes and then on again before it opens? The less the lights have to operate, the lower the power usage will be. Even cutting back 3-4 hours a night can provide a drastic change to the energy requirements.

Step 3 – Research the lighting requirements of your area

Different cities have different lighting requirements, especially for businesses. Contact your local municipality to find out what their lighting requirements for your business are. Higher lighting levels can be required in more urban areas where lower lighting levels can sometimes be used in rural areas. Knowing standard IES requirements are also a great place to start when looking into lighting levels.

Step 4 – Speak to your lighting designer

Now that you have determined the area you need illuminated, the time the lights need to operate and the lighting requirements, it is time to talk to your lighting designer. They will help you determine the best fixture, height of fixture mounting, placement, etc. to complete the project successfully. They should also provide you a lighting layout to show you how your design will look once installed.

Step 5 – Figure where the poles would need to be installed

Once you receive your layout from the lighting designer make sure it fits well within the parking lot. Double check and see if poles are going to be installed in medians, on the edge of the roadway, in-between spaces, etc. This is also a good time to determine if you want to use an anchor base or direct burial pole, if the pole needs a foundation, and many other factors that can vary before final installation.

Step 6 – Decide if you want to use solar powered parking lot lights

The final step is to decide if you want solar powered parking lot lights or standard grid tied electrical lights. If your parking lot already exists or is still in development and planning phases, and there is no electric existing where the lights need to be installed, opt for a solar powered solution. This will cost less than bringing in the power lines, especially when trenching the lines or tearing up existing concrete, while also providing you lower costs overall as there will be no electric bill ever for the lighting.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, LED Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

Solar Car Park Lighting for Stress Free Lighting

Posted by SEPCO

4/15/14 9:30 AM

solar car park lightingEvery business and building has a car park area where lighting is necessary to provide safety to people and their vehicles. Sometimes the lighting can be an afterthought and forgotten till the concrete is laid. This is where solar car park lighting comes in to save the day.

Instead of digging up that parking lot, placing stand alone solar car park lighting systems can provide the needed lighting without the destruction of the area. Each system generates its own power for the light with all the equipment situated at the top of the pole. The only area that needs to be disturbed on the ground is where the pole is placed.

Solar car park lighting saves time and money by not having to dig up the site to lay down traditional electric wiring. Instead, installing an anchor base pole on a concrete foundation and installing the solar power assembly and light fixture on the top of the pole gives you light in less than a day, not weeks of digging and pouring new concrete.

If you are looking to reduce your overall energy costs with existing lighting, solar car park lighting can still be a great option. Grid intertie systems can put energy back into the grid during the day and use the grid power at night. There is even an option for a battery backup with grid intertie systems in case the area is prone to blackouts.

Finally, for new construction sites, if the grid power is not easily accessible, solar car park lighting systems can provide a savings from trenching in the electric and no grid power fees ever. Even if the power is easily accessible, solar lights are becoming a more popular alternative to showcase a green image and provide LEED certifications. And with the advances in technology, the systems are practically maintenance free. Making sure there is a good autonomy to the system provides longer battery life and with LEDs lasting for 15 years or so, there is almost never anything to replace.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting

What Options are Available for Outdoor Solar Lighting

Posted by SEPCO

10/3/13 9:30 AM

Jack-McLean-Park-2In the world of grid connected commercial lighting, there are high installation costs, scheduled and unscheduled maintenance bills, high energy expenses and safety issues. But it doesn't have to be that way. 


Modern outdoor solar lighting has about 1/10th the installation price, there is limited maintenance,  zero energy bills and safety issues are greatly reduced. And, solar lighting is available for a variety of your needs, from parking lots, street lights, area lighting and even such specialized applications like bus and transit stops or industrial applications. 

Take, for example, parking lot lights. With grid supplied lights you'll need to have them professionally installed into your electrical service. Depending on your lot size and whether or not they are a new installation, this may well cost  tens of thousands of dollars. But with solar parking lot lights, you don't tie into the grid. Just put up the pole, orient the solar panel to receive sunlight and you are done. Plus, there is no safer alternative than solar powered parking lot lights. If someone runs into a light pole, there will never be any highly charged and dangerous live wires laying about. And, since it will take years before a battery needs to be replaced, and LED bulbs last virtually forever, having someone go up to "fix" a bad light greatly cuts down on safety concerns. 

Street lighting works the same way. Once they are in place there are no associated electrical costs, there will never be any exposed wires if the pole has been run into, and maintenance becomes a non-issue. 

Local-Transit-4The best outdoor solar lighting applications for commercial area lighting comes with batteries that will hold a charge for 5 full nights. That keeps your area lit up at all times, especially during power outages when there are safety concerns, even if the weather has been cloudy,

Bus and transit stops will always have light with no worry about a bulb burning out, and for industrial applications that require fossil fuel for generators, portable outdoor solar lighting is the answer to reduce costs and bring light to the most remote places where it is needed. 

No matter what your lighting needs are in a commercial setting, there is an outdoor solar lighting option available for you that will save you money, reduce or eliminate maintenance costs and help you go "green" to take advantage of government incentives while becoming eco-conscious. 

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Street Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting, Bus Stop & Shelter Lighting

Stand Alone Solar Lighting Systems for St. Augustine Beach Pier Park

Posted by SEPCO

10/1/13 8:44 AM

St-Augustine-1St. Johns County was looking to complete improvements into the parking areas at the beach parking and wanted to integrate a renewable aspect. The project was designed to integrate standard AC utility electrial lights while also integrating stand-alone solar lighting systems

The lighting design and engineering firm working on this project needed to be able to have the entire light poles and fixtures match and be both aesthetically pleasing and high performing. We were able to assist with this request by using our partnership with Kim Lighting which allowed us to work together in order to offer our solar power systems to integrate the decorative Curvilinear high Performance LED light fixture into both the solar lighting and utility power design.

The production of the fixture in both AC input and DC input take a lot of background engineering. What is different about AC utility power lights and DC solar stand-alone lights is that the solar system is only as reliable as its design. If the fixture draws 1 watt more it could drain the battery and make the system unreliable and require early battery replacement. This 1 watt will operate for about 14 hours in the winter drawing 14 more watts out of the battery and draining the battery closer to the total depth of discharge.

The solar battery has a life expectancy which is based on the cycling capacity. The more the battery cycles through to its DOD - depth of discharge, the sooner the battery will need to be replaced. With LED lights and electronics lasting much longer, the batteries are the weakest components in the system and need to be properly designed in order to have them have long life cycle.

The project was a success and looks beautifully designed. Direct burial round concrete white poles with solar on the top and the curvilinear fixtures below match in with the pier and parking areas and met the needs that St. Johns County was hoping for.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, LED Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting

MDNR Maple Bay State Park Solar Boat Ramp Lighting

Posted by SEPCO

8/29/13 7:30 AM

MDNR Boat Ramp LightingSEPCO was recently contacted by MDNR to provide lighting at the Maple Bay State Park for their boat launch and parking areas. The lights were needed to provide safety to boaters and park goers, but the cost of trenching standard electrical, putting in a meter and boring under the concrete to get the power where they needed it was cost prohibitive. This is where solar lighting was their perfect solution.

Provided were two lights to provide lighting for four hours after dusk and turn back on two hours before dawn. The lighting is provided by a Viper fixture and is powered by a 125 Watt solar power assembly. These systems have a backup of up to 5 days of no sun; which is important in the winter for Michigan.

The installation of the lighting was only part of a large project at the Maple Bay State Park boat launch area. They also provided other features such as a two lane launch ramp, two courtesy piers and vehicle trailer parking areas. They also installed naturalized storm water management system and barrier free accessibility, which greatly enhances the service to the boating public.

This is not the first project completed at a boat ramp in Michigan; however, it is the first to use the bright LED Viper fixture. Our other projects included power flood fixtures using compact fluorescent lamps. With the life expectancy and lumen output of the LEDs being superior, LEDs will surely start to be installed more frequently.
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Topics: Parking Lot Lighting, Area Lighting

Solar LED Parking Lot Lights for Oconee Park and Ride

Posted by SEPCO

7/2/13 8:30 AM

Solar LED Parking Lot LightsOther new features of the Oconee Street Park and Ride lot and surrounding area include three new bus shelters, an information kiosk, security cameras, an emergency call station, bicycle lockers for travelers, an upgraded traffic signal at the State Route 10 Inner Loop on-/off-ramps and Oconee Street intersection, area sidewalk and pedestrian crossing improvements, and a U-turn lane at the intersection of Oconee Street and State Route 10 Outer Loop on-/off-ramps.

This project also incorporates many green initiatives, including pervious concrete and celled aggregate parking bays to reduce run-off and encourage recharge of rain water into the underlying soils, rain gardens to provide treatment of contaminated run-off, tree plantings, and solar-powered LED lighting.

Solar Parking Lot LED lightsThe solar powered LED parking lot lighting systems consist of a 340 Watts solar power system with a 448 Amp Hour battery assembly powering a Genesis LED light fixture. This system is sized to provide dusk to dawn lighting with 8 days autonomy for cloudy weather. This ensures the safety and security of the travelers and their vehicles by providing proper lighting for the Oconee Park and Ride.

The Oconee Street Park and Ride was funded through a $2.4 million Federal Transit Administration grant as a Congressional Earmark in 2004 by then-Representative Max Burns. The project was initially approved in May of 2007 by the Athens-Clarke County Mayor and Commission. The Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Transit Administration were also involved in the planning of the lot. G.P.’s Enterprises Inc. of Auburn, Georgia began construction on the lot in May 2012.

For more information about the Oconee Street Park and Ride lot, call the Athens Transit Information Line at 706-613-3430 or contact Butch McDuffie, Athens Transit Director, at butch.mcduffie@athensclarkecounty.com.
Img Source: http://onlineathens.com/local-news/2013-01-24/oconee-st-park-and-ride-opens-public

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting

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