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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

How Does A Solar Light Work

Posted by SEPCO

3/30/15 10:00 AM

How Does A Solar Light WorkWhether you are talking about the small garden stake lights you find at any big box store or a commercially produced solar lighting system, they provide the same functionality. The difference between them is in the design. Here is a basic overview of how does a solar light work.

There are four major components to any light; the solar panel, battery, control electronics and the light fixture. During the day, the solar panel produces power to charge the battery by the photons produced by the sun’s rays collecting and stimulating electrons in the silicon cells. These electrons are knocked off and collected by the wiring of the solar panel and fed to the battery for storage. This happens from the time the sun starts to rise till the sun is set. Full power production doesn’t actually occur till mid-day; however, the panels can produce power in almost any circumstance there is sunlight.

The battery then stores the power produces during the day. The control electronics determine when it is dark out by noticing the reduced power production of the solar panels. This triggers the system to stop feeding the battery and turn on the light fixture. The light fixture will then feed off the battery for its energy to produce the light. The fixture then operates the schedule profile it is set to operate, whether that is dusk to dawn, or in some lights, when the battery is empty. The light will then turn off when the battery becomes too low or the control electronics notice there is power being produced by the solar panel again.

This cycle continues day after day.

The only differences between solar light systems are the operation profile and system components that are used to build the light. Small lights you find at a home improvement store for your garden provide typically one night’s worth of power. They charge small batteries during the day and operate the light fixture only as long as the batteries have charge. This full depth of discharge only provides a short period of time before the batteries would need changing.

Some larger solar lighting systems manufacturers think the above design is okay for commercial practices; however, there is a large system failure since there are differences between locations and applications that need to be considered when designing the system. Large commercially produced lights must take into consideration the project location, the application that it will be used, and other project specifics. A minimum of five nights autonomy, or backup power, should be implemented to lower the maintenance of the system and provide enough backup for little to no failures when there are periods of inclement weather.

Light fixtures specific to the application should also be used. If you have a large area that requires lighting, a small spot light will not produce the required lighting levels. Instead, using light fixtures that produce specific optics and distribution patterns will ensure the light fixtures meet the needs of the project. The lumen output of the fixture, not the wattage, also needs to be taken into consideration. A lighting analysis and calculations can show all this and can be provided by any reputable solar light systems manufacturer.

So that’s basically it. Sun charges the batteries with the help of solar panels during the day and then the light fixture feeds off the battery at night. Want to learn about other ways to use solar for lighting? Check out 3 Types of Solar Street Light Retrofit Systems and learn about the three different ways solar can be used in lighting applications.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

Benefits of Off Grid Solar Power Light Systems

Posted by SEPCO

3/16/15 10:00 AM

Off Grid Solar Power Light SystemThere are two types of commercial lighting systems, grid powered and off grid powered. Solar powered light systems that are off grid provide different benefits to grid tied light systems such as: light when there is no power for additional safety and security, lack of electric bills, easier installation, and light wherever you need it. Customizing a system for each application will ensure that your light system meets the needs of your project completely.

Light with No Power –

If you live in an area that is prone to blackouts and brownouts, then off grid solar power light systems provide you the safety and security knowing that your lights will still function. Since they are not powered by the grid, if the electrical company has an issue, your lights will still operate just as they are supposed to.

If you area is not effected with these issues, the benefits are similar since you can rely on knowing that no matter what is going on with grid power in the area, your lights will still function. This provides additional safety and security and is popular for military and government facilities since the inception of the Federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 that states federally owned property and buildings are mandated to materially reduce current energy use while also improving energy “security,” by employing renewable power that operates independent of electrical utility grid.

Lack of Electric Bills –

Off grid power systems do not use electric from the grid and therefore cost you nothing in monthly electric bills. Since the inception and popularity of LED fixtures, the maintenance on such systems has also reduced greatly. The only thing that requires maintenance now on a standard solar lighting system is changing the battery every so often. Depending on your nights of autonomy, this can vary greatly between manufacturers. Ask your manufacturer how much their system’s autonomy, or backup power, is standard and what their maintenance schedule is. The more autonomy, the longer the batteries will last and the lower the maintenance costs will be.

Converting your existing electric grid powered lights to solar is not always the most cost feasible if everything is operating correctly. Instead, making simple changes such as switching out the fixtures to LED fixtures, installing control options that reduce the lighting, or even turn in off, when it is not required will help reduce power bills greatly. If you are looking for a way to eliminate the electric bill of your current lights, installing grid tied solar, after making the other changes, based on your average sun insolation and usage will allow for a NET Zero project.

Easier Installation –

Off grid solar power light systems provide a much easier installation. The light can be located where it is required. Unlike the constraints of traditional grid powered lighting where you have to use existing poles and infrastructure, or complete costly trenching to put the power where you need it, solar powered light systems can be installed just about anywhere. This lowers costs by allowing existing structures and areas to be undisturbed for installation. This is especially helpful in cases where grid power is far from the location of where the light is required and times where you discover, after doing upgrades to an area, that the power lines are deteriorated and would need replacing.

Light Where You Need It –

Like discussed in installation, the light can be placed exactly where it is required. Have a dark area in a parking lot? Or a pathway around a park where there is no electricity? Solar powered light systems can be installed in just about any location. If your lights are needed in a shady area, the solar power systems can be installed up to 50’ to 100’ from the actual light so that the solar can be exposed to full sun while your light can be installed where it is needed.

Now that you know some of the benefits of off grid solar power light systems, you will be able to make a better decision when determining your needs. Want to move forward with your off grid solar light project? Learn about common design questions that need to be answered before a system is configured. This will ensure that the manufacturer is designing a system that will meet the needs of your project.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, LED Lighting, Solar Lighting Design, Installation

Advantages of Solar Power Lights at Military and Government Facilities

Posted by SEPCO

3/2/15 10:00 AM

Solar Power LighingThe US Government decided years ago to make their military bases and government facilities as green as possible. Reducing energy and fuel usage, becoming energy independent by installing solar and wind power, and increasing efficiencies in building all contributes to lower costs and energy strength. Using solar power lights is just another step in achieving their goals.

There are quite a few advantages of solar power lights at these types of facilities. Solar powered lighting can provide an off grid option for the facilities as they are not only self-sustaining, but also does not require extra pull from their solar and wind power applications needed for building power, lowering the amount of solar plants and wind farms needed. Since every solar powered light provides its own power, each light works independently from the other. This allows for two goals to be met: Energy Independence and Energy Security.

SolarPowerLighsBy having the lights work independently from the grid, whether powered by solar, wind, nuclear, coal, etc., will increase safety at the facility as no attack can take out every light simultaneously. The lights can also come equipped with a radio transmitter for intentional blackouts, but are not standard to most installations.

One great solar power light application is roadway lighting for the roads around and through the facility or base. These lights provide additional safety by adding visual assistance at night for traffic and pedestrians. It would also allow security to easily spot issues.

Another solar light application would be parking lot lights. At military housing, offices, and other government facilities there are always parking lots. These areas require adequate lighting for people going to and from work for safety to both their person and their vehicle. And using LED lights would give the added benefit of better vision due to the better lighting. LEDs also last longer, do not produce heat and are mercury free.

There are many other applications for solar powered lights at any military base or government facility. Making sure you do your research on the best possible light for the application is key to purchasing a long lasting light.

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Topics: Solar Lighting

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, Sign Lighting

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