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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

Jimmy Carter’s Home Town Signs Brightened Up by Solar Lighting

Posted by SEPCO

8/28/14 9:30 AM

Jimmy Carter introduced the solar tax credit and renewable energy policies, along with being the first president to install solar panels on the roof of the White House, so it would make sense that the place markers of the home of Jimmy Carter would be lit by solar energy. The home of Jimmy Carter is in Plains, GA and is where he resides today. This is a huge attraction for the area and many people stop to take pictures of the area and plaquings located along the way.

Solar Sign Light Jimmy Carter

We were contacted by SolAmerica Energy, a leading solar developer based in Georgia, to provide the solar lighting systems for SolAmerica to install in Plains. The Plains Better Home Town civic group and Chamber of Commerce were installing new plaques to mark Jimmy Carter’s home town and wanted to put up new colorful signs; however, they were requiring lighting at night. Since there was no available power nearby, and the former President had always pushed for solar energy, using a solar lighting system was the preferred choice.

Jimmy Carter Solar Sign Light

The design called for an Architectural Flood fixture to provide the necessary lighting all night for these plaque signs. This provides ability for travelers to take pictures and night and showcase the area at all times. The system is powered by a 50 Watt solar power system that provides plenty of power to light the signs all night and provides five days storage for inclement weather, ensuring the system runs reliably for years to come.

We at SEPCO hope Jimmy Carter enjoys his new solar lighting systems.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, SEPCO News & Information, Sign Lighting

Light up that Double Sided Sign with a Single Solar System

Posted by SEPCO

6/10/14 9:30 AM

Not all signs face one direction. Some are sideways along a roadway to show information to people traveling in either direction. There are also ones that show a welcome on the entrance side and a thank you on the exit side. No matter what your sign says, lighting it at night will provide the information to the passersby’s no matter when they go by.


You can mount a single solar array to power a fixture on both sides of the sign. This design doubles the amount of solar required; however, it will provide the best option for these types of signs. Having a solar for each fixture doubles the maintenance and overall cost of the system.


You can even do the same with an internally illuminated sign that shines the light out through both sides evenly. Either with LEDs or Fluorescent lamps, a single solar power system can provide the power for the light fixtures to provide lighting for both sides of a sign.


The solar power assembly can be located beside the sign, attach to the top of the sign, or even be placed up to 100 feet away so as to allow direct sunlight all day. The solar power system should be sized to provide a minimum of five days autonomy to allow for times of inclement weather and never allow your sign to be left in the dark. So next time you need that double sided sign lit up, consider using solar power to provide the needed energy and a green solution. 

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Sign Lighting

6 Ways LED Technology is Changing the Signage Industry

Posted by SEPCO

12/5/13 9:30 AM

LED-Lighting-With-CE-RoHSSigns have long been a popular way of marketing, posting warnings or communicating information. Traditional printed or lit signs offer limited flexibility and visibility. Fluorescent signs offer improved visibility but are prone to damage and less energy efficient. These are six ways that LED technology is changing the signage industry.

1. Going Green with LED Signage

With the emphasis on sustainable and eco-friendly products, LED signage offers increased green benefits over nearly any other form of signage. From reprogramming existing signs to recycling old signage, disposing of old signage is easier and more affordable than traditional signage as well.

2. Interactive and Moving Signage

LED technologies make it possible to do more than simply convey a message. From flashing text and high-contrast colors to full images and animations, LED signs allow businesses to increase engagement and promote their message, product or service with greater results. In many cases, LED signage is also brighter than other forms of signage for increased visibility and easier reading from a distance.

3. Less Upkeep and Maintenance Costs

Due to reduced energy costs and increased bulb lifetime, LED signage is more affordable to implement and maintain that other forms of signage. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that the average LED can have a useful life of 25,000 hours of longer. They also produce light using a fraction of the electricity of traditional bulbs. The Department of Energy predicts that their plan to switch to LED lighting could save $250-billion in energy costs and replacement costs.

4. Larger Signage is Possible Due to Reduced Weight

Due to their compact size and lightweight design, LEDs allow for increased flexibility in sign placement and larger overall dimensions without risking damage to signage or structures. They also offer a greater variety of options for focusing light. This allows larger signage without worry of light pollution or interference with the visibility of other signage nearby. Many LEDs are designed for long-lasting outdoor use, making LEDs an excellent option for signage.

5. Improved Safety through LED Signage

Unlike incandescent, fluorescent or neon signage, LED signage releases very little heat. This allows for safer long-term usage. LED signage also uses a fraction of the electricity, with some requiring as little as 10-watts, to reduce the risk of electrical hazards or stress to wiring systems. This also makes it possible to utilize solar panels or other alternative solutions to easily light LED signage without the need to modify existing wiring.

6. Signage is Adaptable and Easy to Change without Costly Redesigns

Most LED signage uses a matrix of red, blue and green LEDs to create a wide spectrum of colors. This means that if you need to change the content of your signage, it is often as simple as reprogramming the board that powers the display. Instead of replacing bulbs or entire signs, reconfiguring an existing LED sign is as simple as connecting to the controller and implementing changes.

LED signage is changing the way that businesses think about advertising and signage placement. From reduced energy costs and longer service life to improved visibility and the ability to animate signage, there are plenty of reasons to consider upgrading your existing signage to LED-based solutions.

About the Author: Willie Pena is a freelance writer, video producer, visual artist, and music producer. He prefers the Oxford comma. In addition to writing for firms such as Icon Identity Solutions, IBM, Colgate, Transunion, Webroot and a multitude of private clients and websites, he also shoots, directs, and edits the hit celebrity web series “Teens Wanna Know”. Catch his rare blog posts on, and connect with him on Google+, LinkedIn.

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Topics: LED Lighting, Sign Lighting

Solar Outdoor Sign Lights for Nighttime Marketing

Posted by SEPCO

5/9/13 7:30 AM

Environmental Study CenterIs your business open after dark? Or located on a main roadway? Lighting your business’ sign up at night provides inexpensive marketing and lets passerby’s know where your business is located. There are many different styles of signs available and making sure yours is properly illuminated at night will provide optimum visibility to travelers on the road. Here are some great tips on getting maximum exposure at the least cost.

Solar outdoor sign lights provide a great way to light the sign without added electricity costs to the business. This allows the sign to be visible all night after initial installation. It is also great for the environment as well.

The solar sign light fixtures can be either mounted to the sign on a bracket, out a few feet in front of the sign on the ground or internally illuminated by LED strips or long fluorescent lamps. Depending on the type of sign changes the lighting needs. Most signs only require a single fixture, sometimes one on each side.

The solar power systems can be mounted directly to the sign, integrated into the sign top or mounted to a pole nearby. The solar power assembly size depends on the needed lighting levels and number of fixtures required to adequately light the sign. This can be determined by speaking to a sign lighting representative or solar lighting specialist.

Finally, determining the time you would need your sign to be lit at night. Is the traffic practically gone after midnight? Then have your sign light turn off at midnight to save on energy. You can always turn the light back on a couple hours before dawn so that early morning travelers see your business, even if you aren’t open yet.

Keeping your brand in front of potential customers is a great way to market your business. One of the easiest is with your business sign. Make sure it is visible to your potential customers and make it work for you.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Sign Lighting

Solar Lighting Options for Your Logo Sign

Posted by SEPCO

1/17/13 9:30 AM

Solar Logo SignThere are three main solar sign lighting options that you are going to be able to use on your logo sign. The first one of these options is going to be natural light. Of course, this is going to be the most affordable way that you are going to be able to light up your logo sign. This is because it is going to create some shadows onto your sign.  This is going to give the sign a lot more depth than any other type of lighting. Therefore, all of the letters on the sign are going to pop when the sign is lit up.  The biggest problem with the natural light is that people are only going to be able to see your sign at a certain time of the day.  

The second one of these options of solar lighting is going to be the exterior flood lighting. This is going to help make your logo look as clear as possible from variety of different angles. Therefore, you are never going to worry about any of your customers that being able to see the logo on your sign. Depending on the geographic location of the sign and the amount of light needed can vary the cost of the solar light system. There are many options to consider, but talking to a solar lighting professional can help walk you through the process of designing the perfect system for your sign.

The third one of these options of solar lighting is going to be back lighting. Back lighting is a great way to have your logo to shine on your sign. This is because it does not require a setup like the exterior lighting but you are still going to be able to see your logo from a variety of different angles. Therefore, it is going to work for you no matter what your situation is as far as the location of your sign.  Plus it is going to be very appealing for all of your customers. Using LED strips within the sign can provide the best light and use the least amount of energy.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Sign Lighting

Commercial Solar Sign Lighting Draws Attention to Your Business

Posted by SEPCO

1/8/13 9:30 AM

Commercial Solar Sign LightingCommercial sign lighting is essential to maintaining your business's visibility twenty-four hours a day, and whether you're retrofitting an existing lighting system or installing a new one, the benefits of choosing solar lighting are as clear as the illumination they provide. 

Why It Pays To Be Unconventional

The cost of electricity continues to rise, and whether your business is big or small, new or old, money saved is money earned. Solar is free, and don't think that you need to live where the sun shines all the time. It's a common misconception and one only needs to look to New Jersey, the second biggest solar consumer in the United States, to understand that you don't need to live in the desert to effectively harness the sun's power.

Solar Sign LightingSaving money on the power traditionally used in commercial sign lighting is only the first way solar will boost any business's bottom line. Unlike traditional grid powered lighting, solar lighting is easy to install with little or no electrical knowledge, and can be accomplished by just about anyone with a few simple tools. This means business owners can avoid the high cost of hiring contractors to do the complex electrical work associated with traditional lighting, which is necessary to comply with local building codes and insurance regulations. 


The Bright Side Of Solar

Solar outshines conventional lighting in more than just cost. While traditional commercial sign lighting relies on old technology, solar is constantly evolving to become brighter and more efficient than its conventional counterpart. One example of this is the use of LED light bulbs, which typically use 1/10th of the power of traditional High Pressure Sodium or Metal Halide flood lights and have a much longer bulb life. This translates to brighter sign illumination, making them stand out in any crowd. Plus, with the money saved by choosing solar in the first place, business owners can add more signs for even higher visibility.

Affordable, easy to install and maintain, and great for the environment - there's really no reason not to go solar!

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Sign Lighting

Illuminated Signs with Solar Lights For Advertising And Marketing

Posted by SEPCO

12/4/12 9:30 AM

Solar powered signSolar powered signs are being introduced at businesses, schools, hospitals and governmental office across the country as a way to advertise and market services. The signs are standard signs but are illuminated by solar lights to create an attractive and functional mechanism to get a message out. The signs combine solar power with current sign building techniques, therefore requiring no special modification to existing signs. The solar panel and light can either be mounted on the top of the sign or can be located a short distance from the sign. The solar panel harnesses solar energy during the day then provides the energy required to operate the solar lights that then illuminates the sign after dark. 

The biggest cost saver; the sign does not require the infrastructure that is takes to connect to electric lines as a power source. These sun-charged illuminated signs are quickly gaining in popularity. This can be explained by the economical benefits of the energy savings realized by not paying into the grid. There are also associated practical benefits. These types of signs can be used in remotes spots where grid connection can be complicated and expensive. Solar panels can solve this problem. For example, remote sections of parking lots can be illuminated to provide better security.

Solar Sign LightingThe illuminated signs can also be utilized for many other purposes including advertising and marketing. They could be used to illuminate signs at schools or municipal buildings to announce upcoming events past regular hours. The signs can even be used by a Realtor to give an edge over competition by illuminating a sign to advertise a house for sale beyond normal daylight hours.

The utilization of sun as an energy source is also important marketing signal to potential businesses or clients. Its shows an entity's willingness to start taking responsibility for their energy footprint. By putting the sun to work for you by utilizing solar energy represents a sustainable and renewable energy commitment from your organization and your customers will be appreciative.

Want to know more, check out our guide to sign lighting for some great information.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Sign Lighting

Outdoor Signs: A Variety of Options to Get Your Business Noticed

Posted by SEPCO

11/17/11 9:30 AM

Outdoor signs are a way of announcing the presence of your business to the world. An outdoor sign is a marker, a signature, and an extension of your brand.

Because this kind of signage is so highly visible, it’s important to choose the right kind of outdoor sign for your business. There’s an entire language of outdoor signs -  what’s the different between a pylon sign, a monument sign, and channel letters? And how do you know which one will be a good fit for your company? Read on to find out…

Monument SignMonument Signs: Monument signs are the perfect sign for making a statement about your business. These freestanding, easy-to-spot signs are large and solid looking, typically made out of materials like stone, brick, carved sign foam, or aluminum. The only limitation on monument sign designs and looks is your creativity!

These big signs work best for businesses that have a little space. Medians, lawns, and landscaped areas near your entrance are best for monument signs.  Monument signs also look great with a little illumination, think a couple of small lights pointed at the sign to keep drivers aware of your business come nightfall.

Illuminated Wall CabinetPylon Signs: While monument signs tend to be sturdy and low to the ground, pylon signs are all about height. A pylon sign is any outdoor sign that is mounted on a high pole or pylon structure. Pylon signs for shopping centers often feature more than one business, with each company getting its own acrylic sign face area.

Pylon signs for solo businesses work well when you want to be seen from a distance – pylon signs are particularly useful for businesses near a highway or roadside attractions. Pylon signs work well when they’re illuminated from within.

Channel Letter SignChannel Letters: Channel letters are custom formed three-dimensional letters mounted to the wall of your business. Channel letters are essentially letter shaped boxes, with space inside for mounting hardware and illumination. Channel letters can be formed to meet any specifications and they come in all sorts of colors, shapes, and sizes imaginable.

Channel letters are extremely professional looking, and can be mounted to just about wall surface. Keep in mind that some leases, particularly those for businesses in shopping centers, include specifications about what style of channel letters are acceptable. Before you get too creative, be sure to double-check any limitations.

Lightbox SignLightbox Signs: Lightboxes are the more pared down relative of the channel letter. Essentially large rectangular boxes with an acrylic sign face, light boxes are a popular choice for many business.  Your acrylic sign face can be covered with simple cut vinyl lettering or a more complex design.

As you can tell by the name, light boxes are a type of illuminated sign. The lights are housed within the box structure, and helps to make these outdoor signs easy to spot at any time of day.

Commercial Awning SignCommercial Awnings: Environmentally friendly and very visible, commercial business awnings are another effective outdoor sign option. These awnings can be printed with simple information about your business or they can feature colorful logos or images of your products.

Awnings have the added benefit of keeping out the rain and the wind on stormy days. Awnings come in all manner of shapes and sizes and can be custom assembled for any storefront.

Vehicle Wrap SignVehicle Wraps: If your business is often on the go, but still craves local outdoor visible, a vehicle wrap is an awesome mobile option. Vehicle wraps are large format vinyl stickers that are wrapped around vehicles to transform your truck, van, or trailer into a billboard on wheels.

With countless eye-catching design options available, a vehicle wrap is an ideal fit for just about any business.

Adam Sokoloff is the owner and president of Sunrise Signs - Custom Wraps and Graphics. He writes passionately about vehicle graphics, indoor signs, and outdoor signage.

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Topics: Guest Post, Sign Lighting

Solar Lights for Your Community

Posted by SEPCO

11/8/11 9:30 AM

With the many communities being developed all around there are steps the individuals living within the community can get together to have implemented, either at the beginning stages or years after the development is completed. Talking to the contractors and community board to show them the savings both environmentally and financially will have a great impact on many decisions. Here are a few things that can be changed over to renewable energy to lower cost and reduce the overall environmental impact.

Solar Roadway Light

Solar Roadway Lights

Most developments have lights on the streets. These light provide security to the residences while also improving the overall look of the area by being architecturally friendly. There are solar options that eliminate the electric costs while keeping with the security and architectural integrity. These lights can provide the same lighting levels as the standard electrical lights, and if on a coastal area, can be turtle friendly as well. The same types of lights can be used for golf cart pathways and sidewalks around the community.

Solar Parking Lot Lighting

Solar Parking Lot Lights

Most communities have a pool, clubhouse, golf club, and other gathering structures where parking lots exist. These parking lots need adequate light for security of the residences and vehicles. Solar parking lot lights provide the same lighting levels without the additional trenching of installing traditional electric. The lights also can still meet the architectural integrity needs of the community.


Solar Sign Light

Solar Sign Lights

The entrance and directional signs around the community can also be lit up by solar power. Solar sign lights provide illumination to any size sign from monument signs to smaller signs around the community. Even banner signs can be illuminated by solar. One of the largest benefits of these types of lights is the lack of trenching needed to bring in standard electric as these signs are typically in median and remote locations. Just drop the pole in the ground and mount the solar and fixture, no additional digging required.

Solar Landscape Lighting

Solar Landscape Lights

Communities like to showcase their landscapes around the development by adding lighting. These lights can also be powered by solar, and since multiple fixtures can be powered by a single solar power system there is no need for a single solar power system for each light.

There are also landscape lights available for the individual homeowner. These lights do not provide the same lighting levels as commercial solar lighting systems; however, provide atmospheric lighting and can outline walkways, driveways, and other landscape areas. Residential style solar lights can be found at any hardware, big box store, or online. These lights typically only provide a few hours of illumination and do not provide a backup for times of inclement weather or winter months, but are perfect where the illumination is not required to meet specific lighting requirements.


So next time there is talk about lighting in a community, remember solar lights can provide the same lighting needs while reducing the impact on the Earth and the wallet. For large scale projects like the ones motioned above, make sure to seek a reputable manufacturing company. Different types of solar panels, batteries, control electronics, and fixtures will make or break the solar lighting project. By making sure the lighting levels required by the project are met and the companies providing the lights have high quality parts will save you time and frustration in the long run by lowering the maintenance and increasing the life of the systems purchased.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Street Lighting, Security Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting, Sign Lighting, Landscape Lighting

Banners, Kiosks, Signs, Oh My! Use Solar Lighting to Light Them

Posted by SEPCO

11/1/11 7:48 AM

Solar lighting can be used for many different applications. Some of the most common are banners, kiosks, and signs. We have completed many projects that show the versatility of solar lighting on all of these types of applications.

Solar Banner Sign LightSolar Banner Signs Systems:

The City of Arlington Heights uses our solar banner sign lighting systems for the banner signs throughout their downtown areas. These banner signs have the solar power and fixtures mounted to the top of the banner shining down. These solar powered banner signs light up from dusk for 3 hours and provide information to residences and tourist in the area. The project also showcases the city's green initiative.

Solar Powered Sign LightSolar Sign Systems:

The City of Port St. Lucie uses our solar sign lighting systems throughout the city. These solar powered sign lighting systems provide dusk to dawn lighting for all signs located throughout the area. The City of Port St. Lucie shows their green initiative not only through their solar sign light systems, but also many other projects located around the area. The city says it perfectly by stating on one of their solar powered signs "Keep Port St. Lucie Beautiful" and they are doing just that by helping the environment with solar lighting systems.

Internally Illuminated Solar Sign LightSolar Internally Illuminated Sign System:

Solar can also be integrated in the sign for internal illumination as seen with the Mediterranean Community. The solar power for this sign lighting system is integrated in the top portion of the monument sign with the lamps located within the sign. When just driving by the solar is flush mounted and many are unaware of the solar that powers the sign, but still allows for a green alternative for the community.

Solar Powered Kiosk LightSolar Kiosk System:

Kiosks are located throughout colleges, parks, and cities. These kiosks provide a great place for solar powered kiosk light systems as their roof can be mounted with the solar with the light fixtures wired underneath for lighting at night. Auraria Higher Education Center has been installing solar powered kiosk light systems throughout their campuses to provide lighting for students seaking information after dark. These systems provide lighting from dusk for 6 hours to help lower the size and cost of the system as no students are on site later. 

Benefits of Solar Banner, Kiosk, and Sign Systems:

All of these systems provide many benefits including no need for power to be trenched to the location, free energy provided by the sun, and a tax incentive provided by Federal, State, and Local authorities. Next time you are in the position for lighting a banner, kiosk, or sign, think solar.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, SEPCO News & Information, Sign Lighting

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