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A New Way to Think About Lumens and Watts

Posted by SEPCO

2/16/15 10:00 AM

Lumens and Watts

I keep being asked to meet the Lumens or Watts from a HPS, MH, or just about any other type of light, but this isn’t comparing apples to apples. This is trying to compare apples to spaghetti (I love spaghetti). A while back, I wrote an article Wattage vs Lumens: Know the Difference for Better Lighting to help readers understand the difference between comparing a 400 Watt HPS lamp to a 30 Watt LED, but I think it is time to expand on that.

A Lumen is a Lumen and a Watt is a Watt; however, the two don’t really have much to do with each other in the LED world. One LED may produce only 50 Lumens per Watt, where as another may produce closer to 100 Lumens per Watt. Therefore, one company’s 30 Watt fixture may be brighter or less bright than another company’s. Most companies publish their efficiency ratings on their specification sheets, and if you don’t find it there, contacting someone at the company or a local representative will help you determine exactly what the light output of a certain LED fixture is.

Another huge misconception is how many Lumens it will take to light a specific area. Other lamps, like some 400 Watt Metal Halide lamps, produce around 36k Lumens; however, these lumens are spread out shining in all directions, not just down. This means that only a fraction of the 36k Lumens actually reaches the area below the fixture.

Directional LEDs are very different. All of the light is directed to a specific direction and produces task specific lighting. All Lumens are in the area they are required and not wasted in areas where they are not needed. This lowers the amount of Lumens required for a specific lighting task while also lowering the wattage of the fixture draw and the electrical requirements.

For example: a street light requires the light to be shone down on the street, possibly even on a walkway / sidewalk along the street. The light is not needed on the building across the street, nor is it needed up high in the sky. The same concept goes for a coach fixture in an HOA, a sign light, parking lot light, etc. The light should be specified to the task that is required, and light level requirements should be figured before determining the Wattage or Lumens that it will take to meet those requirements.

If light level requirements are unknown, then standard IES requirements for most applications can be a good starting point for just about any project. Standard IES for a parking lot, for example, is .2 foot candle average. Depending on the height of the fixture, the Lumens per Watt produced (efficiency rating), and a few other factors, this may be achieved by a range of different fixtures and fixture Wattages available.

The best way to determine what you need for Wattage and Lumens is to have a lighting plan completed. Lighting designers will place the lights where they are needed within a design and help determine what is needed to properly illuminate a space. If there is dimming being used, you can always ask for one light plan showing what the light output will be on full intensity and an additional light plan to show what the light output will be at dimming. This way you can verify exactly what the light fixtures will do at any point.

Remember, there is no one-to-one comparison when it comes to Lumens and Watts, especially when changing companies and types of lamping options. Instead of asking for an equivalent fixture, ask for a specific lighting level requirement and you will see better results. And always ask for a lighting plan if you are unsure…you may be surprised at what the lighting plan reveals.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

Versatility and Cost Savings through Commercial Solar Lighting Systems

Posted by SEPCO

2/9/15 10:00 AM

It is estimated that lighting alone accounts for 12% of the total U.S. electrical consumption every year, using upwards of 461 billion kWh of electricity. This is a heavy cost to businesses, cities and municipalities. Solar lighting can provide both a financial relief as well as a green alternative to traditional lighting. They are self-contained and grid free, and with LED technology, requiring almost no maintenance throughout their lifespan. These lower installation costs compared with utility powered lighting and continue huge savings in the short and long run for most installations.

SEPCO provides versatile solar lighting systems that can easily adapt to most lighting requirements. From large parking lots, roadways, security perimeters and such, all the way down to small sign, flag and bus stop / shelter lighting systems, each project is specified to meet the needs of the application. With over 30 years in the lighting industry, SEPCO solar lighting systems have provided illumination to thousands of projects all over the world.

Martin County Airport Street Lighting

Locally, we have installed a number of projects, Airport Road in Stuart, FL being one. The Martin County Project Manager Paul Bangs chose SEPCO solar lighting systems “to do something innovative” along this stretch of roadway leading into the local airport. The solar lighting systems will save the county money both in the short and long-term as there is no need to run permanent power and the lights are easy to assemble and install. These systems use efficient LED fixtures that provide even lighting along the roadway and are dark sky compliant so no light is wasted.

If a roadway is in a landmark area, more decorative and architecturally designed fixtures may be required. SEPCO’s partnership with Hubbell Lighting allows us to easily adapt almost any style fixture to our solar power systems. This allows us to provide large decorative fixtures for roadway applications without sacrificing lighting levels.

Bradenton Beach Turtle Friendly Street Lighting

The City of Bradenton Beach required just that. The city was looking to use renewable energy to lower the city’s electric bill and become more environmentally friendly. This coastal city has streets of beautiful architecture, homes and shops, and required something a little more than a standard street light system. Using the Urban fixture, we were able to provide a solar lighting system that matched the look of the area, and by powder coating the entire system, blended the solar lighting systems in well with the surrounding buildings and landscape. The lights in Bradenton Beach are a beautiful example of how solar and decorative fixtures work well together to provide the needed lighting for the area while not compromising the architectural looks of an area.

MCAS BEQ Retrofit Pathway Lighting

Mandates that have been set forth by the US Federal Government have required federal facilities to reduce energy and improve energy security by installing renewable energy that operates independent of the electrical grid. The US Marine Corps Bachelor Enlisted Quarters complied with this by retrofitting their current lighting systems with solar power and replacing the fixtures with LEDs to increase visibility. Their parking lots and walkways have all been fitted with solar powered LED systems replacing the old High Pressure Sodium lamps with LED fixtures, even matching the style of the old fixtures along the walkways with Beacon’s Slide fixture.

US Military MH Parking Lot Lighting

LED lights are not the only style fixtures that can be adapted. A secure US Military facility required Metal Halide fixtures to be used for their roadway and parking lot area application. We were able to adapt a standard shoebox fixture with Metal Halide lamps to provide this facility light along their roadways, entrances and parking lot areas. This helped the facility to meet its energy reduction goal and provide security through grid free lighting.

Fort McHenry Flag and Street and Parking Lot Lighting

Fort McHenry has been using our solar powered lighting systems for their entrance and parking lots since 2001; however, in 2009 they installed a solar lighting system to light the Star Spangled Banner flag, replacing the 400 Watt metal halide flood lights that were bulky, compromising the aesthetics of the site, and consumed unnecessary energy. They installed a 24 Watt and a 17 Watt flood fixture along with the solar power system on the rooftop of the fort, unseen from tourists. These illuminate the oversized reproduction 15-star 15-stripe original flag for all night. The switch from the metal halide fixtures to LED increased the visibility and allows the flag to show its true colors at night.

SEPCO’s founder Steve Robbins invented the first commercial solar street light over 25 years ago and has been a leader in the industry since SEPCO was founded in 1994. Systems are manufactured to specifications laid out by the project designer with help from our lighting specialists. Each system is custom built and takes into account the geographical location, available sun, light level requirements and weather of each installation location to determine the best system to meet the needs of the customer. SEPCO systems provide a minimum of five nights autonomy, more in the northern areas, and have a life span of 25 to 30 years, providing long term benefit to every solar lighting system installed.

SEPCO also provides custom solar power systems for many different applications. From cameras, Wi-Fi, meters, monitoring systems, the stand alone solar power stations can provide the needed power for almost any application where grid power is not available. These types of systems have been installed all over the world and are primarily used for military and government applications.

In the end, commercial solar lighting systems can provide the necessary security and reduce our energy consumption while maintaining the architectural integrity of the project. With a wide range of choices and custom built designs, SEPCO can easily adapt to the project requirements without sacrificing the lighting level requirements of the area..

***Above is the article feature in November in the Electrical Products and Solutions magazine.

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

6 Reasons to Use LED Solar Flood Lights for Security

Posted by SEPCO

2/2/15 10:00 AM

Secure-RV-3LED solar flood lights have been gaining popularity due to the ability to provide lighting in even the most remote locations for safety and security. These solar flood lights can be installed in just about any location with no need for access to traditional power. Here are the six reasons to implement LED solar flood lights for security.

  1. Provide clear visibility of areas from a distance to see anyone moving in or around the area.

This can be achieved by having the lights operate all night long or by using a motion detector. Motion provides the same security levels; however, allows for much less power consumption as the lights will only operate when something moves in the area. Once motion is detected, the lights come on for a set period of time and allow for someone to visibly see what set off the motion detectors. These motion detectors can have the sensitivity set for a range of movement so that a passing small animal does not trigger the lights to come on.

  1. Remove potential hiding places around routes that are traveled by pedestrians.

Security lighting can light up an entire area and remove hiding places around routes that pedestrians must travel. Their light spread is typically much larger and leaves much less area in the dark. This can provide added safety and security to pedestrians in any area whether it is walking in a park, towards a parking lot, or down an alleyway.

  1. Provide facial recognition at a distance of about 30’.

LED lights provide a much better light and allows for better visibility since the lighting levels are much closer to daylight than other types of lamps. Good LED lighting provides the ability to provide facial recognition from around 30’ away. This allows people to recognize what is in their surroundings and provide more detailed than other security light lamps used in the past.

  1. Assist the use of other safety devices such as cameras in the area.

LED lights also provide better lighting for cameras to visually see what is in the area at a given time. The solar LED flood lights can operate at a lower light level for camera use and then switch to a high powered light when motion activated to increase visibility and distance of the camera’s sight. This would ensure that security in the area has full visibility to what is going on at a specific location at a precise time. You can even combine the solar powered flood lighting and camera system into one.

  1. Deter crime against property and people.

Deterring crime is the biggest role that a LED security light offers, and solar allows them to operate even when the power is out. Criminals are not known for operating where they can easily be caught, and lighting the area with good LED fixtures that operate no matter what will help deter crime in the area and also provide easy recognition if something was to occur.

  1. Increase nighttime pedestrian traffic and feeling of security.

Providing added safety and security through lighting of an area can increase pedestrian traffic and make people in the area have a sense of safety and security. For business owners, this is beneficial two fold; first by increasing customer traffic and second by increased safety for employees. If customers feel that your establishment has provided the lighting and created a safe place to visit, they will be more apt to return. For employees, it provides a sense of well-being that the employer provided the necessary lighting to ensure their safety and make them feel like their security is top priority. No one wants to come to an establishment where they feel unsafe. Same goes for a personal home that has no lighting.

In the end, security lighting provides a benefit to all those around them. Providing additional safety and security at night is top priority, and using good lighting provides much better details to the surroundings than any other lamp option in the past. What other reasons should you use LED solar flood lights for security?

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Security Lighting

Determine The Best Way To Implement Pathway Lighting In 3 Easy Steps

Posted by SEPCO

1/19/15 9:30 AM

Solar Powered Pathway LightingPathway lights cover a myriad of different areas. They can be small walkways like in front of a house or through landscaping, or large walkways like those around a college campus or park. Adequate lighting allows for people along the pathway after dark to be able to see where they are going and provide visibility to their surrounding areas. To ensure these pathways are properly illuminated, there are a few steps to follow to determine what sort of lighting would be required.

Step 1 - Determine what type of pathway will be illuminated.

Small pathways that are only a foot or two wide in gardens or along a home do not require much lighting other than illuminating the footpath as there is typically other lighting to illuminate the surrounding area. These are typically illuminated with small pagoda or bollard style lighting that only provides the light at a very low level.

Larger pathways that are over three feet wide will require high powered bollard fixtures or overhead fixtures to provide a large area of light. With LED lighting and advanced optics, these fixtures can provide lighting to just the path, or the path and surrounding areas for added security. These areas also characteristically require even illumination which cannot be provided by small, low powered fixtures.

Step 2 - Determine how to power the light fixtures.

These types of fixtures can be either standard grid powered or solar powered. Standard electrical power requires the use of underground wiring and should be implemented in the planning phase of a project to not disturb the landscaping or require for breaking up concrete to trench under. The electrical lights can be set on a timer to only be on during the times they will be needed, or the lights can operate all night.

Solar powered pathway lighting such as solar bollards or solar pagoda lights can be designed two ways. The first way is to have every light have its own solar power source, typically fixed to the top of the fixture. These fixtures provide the lighting where needed; however, they are prone to vandalism, and due to the flat panel design, do not get the full advantage of the sun, especially when there is inclement weather such as snow or cloudy weather. These types of fixtures also can only be located in sunny areas and cannot be installed under trees or nearby something that can cast a shadow on the solar during the day. They also do not typically operate all night or have much for backup power if they are not able to be fully charged by the sun the following day.

Using a single solar power source that is remotely installed with full access to the sun to provide the power for multiple fixtures provides added security since these types of solar power assemblies are more vandal resistant and can be located in a more secure location or high up on a pole with the fixtures installed anywhere they are needed, even in the shade. They are typically mounted at an angle facing south to take full advantage of all the power the sun can provide. The solar power assembly provides more power than integrated fixtures with solar as well as much more backup power for inclement weather periods.

Solar powered pathway lights are the perfect solution for lighting an area that does not have electrical power nearby or as an afterthought to an existing area. They can also be set on a timer for specific operation times or operate all night for areas, such as a hospital, that are open all night.

Step 3 - Determine the architectural requirements of the area.

Is the pathway located in an industrial or historic area? Are there fixtures that would need to be matched already located nearby? With the number of light fixture styles available, there is sure to be a fixture to meet the architectural needs of the project.

LEDs have advanced and can provide similar lighting levels for each fixture style. Learn about the fixture designs and talk to your local lighting company to determine if they can meet your requirements. Since LEDs are easily integrated with solar power systems, the requirement for a solar option no longer keeps you confined to only a small selection of fixtures.

Following these three steps will help you determine what the best solution to your project is. Speak with your lighting representative to see what solutions they can provide you for your project and all the options they have available to meet your needs. With the advancements in the lighting industry happening every day, now is a great time to explore your options in solar lighting.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Pathway Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

2014 SEPCO Blog Year in Review

Posted by SEPCO

12/30/14 9:30 AM

SEPCO_Blog_2014_Review 

We wanted to highlight our top 5 articles for 2014 and provide you a little peek at what is coming up in 2015. We also wanted to thank our readers for continuing to come back for more information on solar lighting, solar power, green ideas and renewable energy news and information.

  1. 13 Solar and Lighting Terms to Know

This article covers a lot of terms found in the solar power and lighting industry and what they are actually referencing. This information is great to get you well-informed on industry terms and their meanings when communicating with a solar power or lighting company.

  1. Solar Street Light Components: What’s in Your System?

This article covers the different components that are in a commercial solar lighting system and the variations that can occur. There are many options and knowing what should be included in any commercial solar street lighting system will help you make sure you get all the necessary components to operate the system correctly.

  1. Why a Minimum of Five Days Autonomy is Important for Off Grid Solar

Five days / nights autonomy is required to make sure your solar power / lighting system operates as intended and provides reliability and longevity to the systems. This article covers why this is needed and how, in more northern climates, this can make or break a system.

  1. What You Need To Know About Light Distribution Patterns

Distribution patterns ensure that the required area you need to light is covered by the fixture or fixtures. Different distribution patterns are used for different applications. This article reviews them and explains the different applications each type of light pattern is used for.

  1. 4 Questions to Answer Before You Get a Solar Lighting Quote

There are four primary questions that should be asked before you get a quote and this article covers them and why. These questions make sure you are not getting a packaged “off-the-shelf” system that may or may not work how you expect it to for your application.

That wraps it up for 2014 and the SEPCO Blog. We here at SEPCO wish you a wonderful and fruitful 2015. See you on the flip side.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, SEPCO News & Information, Solar Power, LED 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

Getting Better Solar Lighting Results by Following 3 Simple Steps

Posted by SEPCO

12/9/14 9:30 AM

Better Solar Lighting ResultsPurchasing a solar lighting system for any application can be a daunting task. There are so many options and decisions to make that you can easily get lost in the specifications. There are three simple steps you can take to ensure that you at least have good results with your system, no matter what the application.

Step 1

Use LED fixtures that provide a high Lumen per Watt output. This information can be found on any specification sheet, and if it is not right there, ask for it. A high wattage LED fixture does not mean that it provides bright lighting; it all depends on the Lumens provided from the LEDs. Knowing the available Lumens per Watt for the LEDs can help you determine which fixture would provide the required light. Want to know more about the difference between Watts and Lumens, check out Wattage vs Lumens: Know the Difference for Better Lighting.

Step 2

Make sure your solar power system provides enough power during the day and provides plenty of backup storage. Solar lighting systems should always be designed for worst case scenario since if you use more than you put in, the system will begin to fail. Sizing your system with summer or even yearly average sun will not ensure that your system will operate when the days are short and nights are long. Make sure your system always provides around 20% over for power generation and you have a minimum of five nights autonomy for those times of inclement weather. This will guarantee your system operates even when the weather is bad for days at a time.

Step 3

Make sure to follow installation instructions carefully and provide shade free south facing site for installation. Reading the installation manual before starting the installation will allow you to decide if you have everything necessary and alert you to any special needs of your system. There can also be labels on the system itself pointing you as to what is needed. Finally, ensuring the system faces directly south and has no shade on the solar panel all day will make sure that the solar lighting system can stand up to the test of time. If there are trees nearby, make sure they are trimmed well.

Following these three simple steps will guarantee that your solar lighting system will provide the best result possible.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

Solar Bus Stops & Bus Shelters for Energy Efficient Transit System

Posted by SEPCO

12/4/14 3:22 PM

Solar Bus ShelterBus stops and shelters are used along any bus transit system. These areas provide information to travelers along the route to make sure they get where they need to go at the times they need to get there. Daytime travelers do not have to worry about visibility; however, at night, lighting is required to ensure the bus driver spots them and they can see the information on the routes. This is where solar lighting can easily come in to play.

Most bus stops and bus shelters are located in an area that grid power is not easily accessible without tearing up the nearby area to bring wires out to the location. Solar makes the lighting at night possible since the solar is either roof or top of pole mounted. The power is generated wherever it is needed without the destruction of surrounding areas.

Solar bus stop light systems consist of a pole mounted solar power system that provides power to a fixture, sometimes integrated within the battery assembly, and can provide lighting all night, via a motion or push button activation, or on only when the transit system is in operation. These systems are completely integrated together and can be installed in just about any sunny location along a route.

Solar Bus StopSolar bus shelter light systems can integrate easily into an existing bus shelter or be specified with a new installation along a route. The panels can mount on the roof of the shelter structure or be pole mounted nearby. The LEDs are integrated within a battery assembly and mount under the roof of the structure to provide lighting within the structure.

Advertising bus shelters can also use the solar to light the ad boxes that are sometimes on these shelter structures. The solar can power the entire lighting requirements of the bus shelter. These typically use LED strips along the edges of the ad box and are fed by the same battery pack as the overhead light fixture within the bus shelter. These systems require additional solar power and battery; however, allow for the advertising message not to be lost at night by travelers and others just passing by.

Not only do these systems save money due to lower installation costs, they save on monthly electric bills. Since the systems provide the power by the sun, there is no need for standard electric and to pay the utility company for the lighting. With the rise of utility power costs, this can turn into a huge savings in the long run. Definitely a win-win.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Bus Stop & Shelter Lighting

Here is Your Solar Flag Light Systems Comparison and Overview

Posted by SEPCO

12/2/14 9:30 AM

solar flag lightThere are many different types of flag light systems. Proper flag lighting etiquette states that you should light the flag all night long if you do not want to take it down at night. There are many types of flag light systems you can find online and offline, from $30 systems that operate only with a single charge and only last part of the night, to large industrial custom built solar flag light systems that will last days even if there is little sun due to weather conditions.

The small solar lighting systems you can purchase off large online stores and in big box stores typically provide about 8-10 hours of light for your flag if the solar is able to fully charge the batteries during the day. If you have an overcast day, or do not set it up just right, the light will not operate all night, leaving your flag in the dark. Make sure to read the complete specifications and installation on what you are purchasing if you want to ensure that your flag will stay illuminated all night long.

The smaller solar lighting systems will also require a battery replacement every year or two; depending the depth of discharge allowed for the battery used. Make sure the replacement batteries are easy to purchase and replace will allow your system to be able to reused year after year. If the batteries are not able to be replaced, this will end up costing more as you will need to replace the entire system when the batteries no longer hold a charge.

Custom built solar flag lighting systems provide all night lighting and provide much better backup for times of inclement weather. These types of systems come with a minimum of five nights storage and enough solar power to charge the battery in almost any weather conditions. They take into account the length of your night, the available sun in your area, and the amount of light required for your specific size flag to ensure good coverage.

These systems can still be quite small, depending on the type of fixture used and the sizing required for your geographical location. Fixtures range from small 3 Watt LED fixtures to much larger 25 Watt LED or more for larger flags. The fixtures can either be ground mounted or mounted high on the flag pole, depending again on the needs of the project. They can also be installed on a roof that is near the flag.

No matter what type of system you chose, make sure it will operate reliably and how you want it to. Don’t overlook the specifications and make sure you follow the installation instructions carefully to ensure your system operates as designed.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Flagpole Lighting

The A – Z of Solar LED Area Lighting

Posted by SEPCO

11/13/14 9:30 AM

Solar LED Area LightingSolar LED area lighting can be used for many applications ranging from small single LED lights along a pathway to large overhead lights for roadways and parking lots. Each system should be designed for the specific application and to provide the required lighting levels. Good research on the project application, design work and choosing of the final product will ensure that the end user gets exactly the type of system that perfectly fits their needs.

Small walkway lighting can be accomplished in multiple ways. From small off-the-shelf lighting systems for home walkways to larger corporate walkways using higher powered bollard fixtures vary in their design, costs and maintenance. The off-the-shelf systems typically each have their own solar panel, battery and all included in each fixture. These systems are not high powered, but can outline the area they are placed along. These systems require a lot of maintenance as their solar is only sized to provide a small amount of power with little to no backup from the battery, making the system use all available power nightly and reducing the battery lifespan dramatically; typically needing replacing every year or two.

Larger bollard fixtures can be installed in one of two ways; each having their own solar power system integrated within the bollard fixture, or multiple bollards powered off a single large power array. The single bollards that each has their own solar power system provide a little better storage than the small big box solar lighting systems; however, they will still require much more maintenance than a commercial lighting system. These types of systems have a flat panel on the top of each light requiring constant cleaning, especially in the northern snowy areas, and are more prone to vandalism. The batteries are typically only a couple day backup, which still produces a short lifespan of a battery. Large solar arrays powering multiple fixtures will provide a longer lasting system as there is typically a minimum of five nights autonomy and the solar is sized to replace the total usage every night in the worst case scenario, winter.

Other area lighting applications use larger fixtures such as floods and overhead light fixtures. These are much higher powered systems and provide large area lighting for parking lots, streets, perimeters, etc. These systems each have their own solar power assembly to provide the power to the fixture and operate as specified by the end user. These systems need to still be sized properly to ensure they are reliable and provide a long lifespan.

These larger projects have a considerable amount of customization options and discussing the needs of the project with the lighting designer will guarantee that the light specified for the project will meet the needs perfectly. Different distributions for different lighting applications can be used to customize the lighting system so that lighting is only installed where needed and not wasted. Also, control options provide specific lighting needs, such as dusk to dawn or specific timing, even dimming options that can be considered. Always make sure that the lighting representative knows the end project requirements before specifying any type of custom control electronics.

Next time you are looking to light up an area and need a solar option, consult your solar lighting specialist to help you design the perfect system tailored to your specific needs. From big to small, solar LED area lighting can be a great choice.

 

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Topics: Solar Lighting, LED Lighting, Area Lighting

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