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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

Solar Power Sign Light Design: Step by Step

Posted by SEPCO

4/27/15 10:00 AM

Moraine-College-Solar Power Sign Light One of our most popular articles is Street Light Design and I thought it was about time to offer a step by step to sign lighting design. This will give you the information on designing a perfect sign lighting solution from the beginning to end.

Step 1 – Determine the size of the sign

First thing is how big is the sign? Is it single or double sided? Does the entire sign need to be illuminated or just a single portion? What about internally illuminated signs? Knowing exactly how much area is going to require coverage will help narrow down the design parameters quickly. Internal signs require additional engineering, but knowing the height, width and depth of the sign cabinet is part of the first step to determine how much light is going to be required.

Step 2 – Find out if electric is available

A lot of signs are installed in medians or out where standard grid power doesn’t readily exist. If you were to bring electric to the site of the sign, how much is this going to cost? Is this going to destroy surrounding area such as roads, landscapes, etc? Don’t forget to leave the repair work out of your cost figures.

Step 3 – Determine the lighting requirements

How much light will be required to adequately illuminate the sign? Any lighting company can help you determine what are the best light levels for a sign and offer suggestions. Also, does the sign need to be illuminated from dusk to dawn? For businesses, this could be a yes for nighttime marketing efforts. For an HOA, this may be no and will allow for the lights to turn off after midnight and then on an hour or so before dawn. Lowering power consumption helps on many levels.

Knoxville-Internal-Solar-Sign-LightStep 4 – Final all alternatives

Solar power sign light systems come in a variety of shapes, sizes, costs, etc. There are solutions out there online that are only a few hundred dollars and others that range in the thousands. Depending on the long term requirements and how you want the system to operate can determine what system you will need.

Step 5 – Get lots of quotes

The last step is to send your information to companies for quotes. Just like with anything else, get multiple quotes and weigh the pros and cons of every company and situation. The lowest quote is not always the best, so make sure to do your research on companies and products before you submit a purchase order. Compare information from companies like light output, system components, warranty, life expectancy, etc. to help you determine what you are actually paying for and what you are spending.

If you take your time, do your research, and gather needed requirements, your next sign lighting project will be a success. Never be afraid to ask a lot questions, they may save you time and money in the long run.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Lighting Design, Sign Lighting

Quick Overview of Sign Lighting from Big to Small

Posted by SEPCO

12/11/14 9:30 AM

Signs provide advertising and information to travelers day and night; however, if they are not properly lit at night, miss visual impact by someone driving by. There are many ways to light up a sign at night, including the use of solar when electric is not readily available. Here are some great tips and information for different types of sign lights from big to small.

 

Large Billboard Salt River Devco

 

Large billboard lights require quite a bit of lighting to see easily at night. Billboards are typically used for advertising along highways of local businesses and can generate great traffic for these businesses from travelers. Making sure they are properly illuminated during the night time allows for your message not to be missed. A typical billboard needs around one bright fixture every 10 feet to allow for proper illumination levels and to make sure none of the message gets left in the dark.  These can easily be solar powered as the solar panels can be mounted on top of the billboard to charge the batteries during the day and then power the lights at night. Best of all, there is almost never any shading concerns on a billboard. Since billboards are typically installed in the middle of nowhere and have no ability to install typical electrical grid lines, solar is a great option for these large signs.

 

Large Monument Sign Moraine Valley Community College

 

Large monument signs for communities, offices, businesses, etc. can also require multiple fixtures to properly illuminate the sign. These styles of sign lighting systems have fixtures mounted near to the ground angled upwards towards the sign face. These signs can be located along the side of a roadway or in a median. You can either decide to light up just the logo and information on the sign, or the entire sign along with surrounding landscaping. Solar can easily adapt to these signs as well since there is not always power located where the sign is installed, especially in a median, and the trenching involved with bringing in standard electrical power is costly and tears up the surrounding areas.

 

Small Sign Savannah HOA

 

Small signs typically use a single flood fixture and require much less lighting than larger signs. These too have ground mounted lighting; however, the light fixtures can also be mounted from the top of the sign. These too can easily be powered by solar power systems and typically require small solar power systems. For extra impact, additional fixtures can be used to light up the surrounding landscape to really light up the sign area.

 

Internally Illuminated Sign Denver Children Advocacy

 

The final topic to discuss is internally illuminated signs. These are typically either on a building face or stand alone along a roadway. Internally illuminated signs mostly used long fluorescent tube lights; however, there is a huge transition to LED strips to new signs as well as upgrades to older sign boxes. There are many options available with LED lights that can be installed within a sign box and can be as comparable to sizing in regards to the required lighting as a standard flood system to requiring much more power than an externally illuminated sign.

 

Speak with your sign company when deciding what type of sign you are having designed and the options available when it comes to lighting. Knowing the lighting requirements before the final sign is built will help you determine the best type of lighting and to get the most for your money. Most sign companies work with lighting companies directly and can help you determine what the best course of action is. If you are requiring a solar solution due to a lack of traditional power where the sign will be installed, contact your solar lighting designer to create the perfect solar sign lighting solution for your sign.

 

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Lighting Design, 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.

Rio-Monument-Sign-1

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.

Mediterranean-HOA-1

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.

US-EPA-Facility

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

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

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

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