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What You Need To Know About Light Distribution Patterns

Posted by SEPCO

4/1/14 9:30 AM

Light-Distribution-PatternsThere are many different distribution patterns available with different lighting fixtures. Each distribution pattern provides a different lighting footprint on the ground to provide a light pattern for specific area light needs. The larger the distribution pattern, the larger area of light that is produced. Here is a quick overview of different lighting distributions.

Type II Distribution

Type II distributions provides a wide, round pattern  and is more suited for small streets and wide pathways. The fixture is placed in the center of where the light is required and the light is distributed in an oval type shape around the entire fixture area. The width of the light pattern on the ground is about 1.5 times wider than the mounting height of the fixture.

 

Type III Distribution

Type III distributions provides a wide, round pattern like that of Type II distribution; however the amount of light it provides is much larger and meant for roadways, parking lots and larger areas. The width of the light pattern on the ground is about 2.75 times wider than the mounting height of the fixture.

Type IV Distribution

Type IV distributions are a round pattern that is pushed out away from the fixture with little light falling behind the fixture. This is ideal for perimeters, security and walls or buildings. The width of the light pattern on the ground is still quite large, about 2.75 times wider than the mounting height of the fixture.

Type V Distribution

Type V distributions provide the largest, most even pattern of light. The light is pushed in all directions from the light fixture and is used for large parking areas or anywhere a large even pattern of light is required.

There you have it. When you decide what are you need lit, make sure you are asking for the correct distribution pattern for your application.
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Topics: Solar Lighting, General Lighting, LED Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

Important Tips Linked To Solar Street Light Manufacturer Selection

Posted by SEPCO

3/27/14 9:30 AM

SolarStreetLightManufacturer.jpgWith the pressure on to conserve energy, many companies and local authorities are installing solar powered street lights. These lights not only help save money, but also help reduce the pressure on power generation plants thus helping reduce greenhouse emission production. It also helps reduce pressure on the power grid thus helping divert the energy to other sectors and industries which need it more. When planning to purchase a large number of solar street lights, it’s important to keep certain factors in mind so as to select the right solar street light manufacturer and brands. Below are some of these factors which will help make more informed decisions:

The amount of light required

Street lights are meant to light up large areas thus requiring the solar lights to be bright. It’s important the radius each light eliminates be taken in to consideration thus allowing the distance between lights to be calculated. This makes it possible to determine the number of solar street lights that are required and helps estimate the cost. The larger the radius covered by each light, the fewer the number of solar street lights you need, thus helping reduce solar street light purchase and installation costs.

Solar light maintenance tips

It’s important to keep in mind that street lights are a public utility and therefor tend to be mishandled. This makes it important to select solar street light which is made using strong materials which will prolong the usable life.

Insect and animals management

Keep in mind that the lights tend to be an insect attraction and require to be completely sealed to prevent insects and other animals seeking shelter inside the lights. It’s common to find small animals like rats and squirrels finding their way in to street lights and making themselves at home since the lights provides a source of warmth during the cold winter nights. Also make sure the lights are strong enough to support extra weight. This is because you are bound to find birds perching on the solar street lights which can result in breaking of the lights.

Preventing and avoiding corrosion

The materials used to make the lights also require being corrosion resistant to prevent deterioration over short periods of time. Today, there are several alloys and plastic materials which can be used on the lights to help prevent corrosion. On some parts of the light anti-corrosive materials can be used to coat the metals and prevent any damage from heat and water.

Reduced wiring and maintenance requirements

It’s also important to take the wiring in to consideration to help reduce the maintenance requirements. Today NANO technology has resulted in miniaturizing most electronics including solar street light controls. This means that they have all the required components inside the street light. They have an in-built solar charging unit, battery cells and an automatic light sensor which turn the solar light on and off. Select solar lights which offer a one in all solution thus helping reduce maintenance and repair requirements.

The cost of solar street lighting

When price comes to question, many people will consider just the tag price but with solar street light section several other aspects come in to play. To begin with it’s important to consider the area covered by the lights. Keep in mind that the wider the radius covered results in the requirement of fewer street lights. This makes it important to make the required calculations so as to determine each street lights “light span”. This measurement will help determine the number and eventually the cost of the solar street lights. Also take time to calculate other aspects such as the maintenance and repair costs linked to the solar street lights.

For companies, property developers and local government authorities that purchase a large number of street lights, the above points play an important role towards selecting the right solar light manufacturer, brands or models. Every aspect must be taken in to close consideration to make sure you get the most effective solar street light which delivers abundant lighting and results in the least amount of maintenance requirements.

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Topics: Clean Energy, Street Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

You are the solar light manufacturer, where are the prices?

Posted by SEPCO

2/4/14 9:30 AM

PriceForSolarLightThank you for visiting our site. As you might have noticed, there is tons of product information available; however, there are no prices. We get quite a few emails from potential customers that ask where our pricing is and I wanted to cover that with a quick post.

The answer is simple; because there is more to the solar light or power system than just a one size fits all. There are quite a few factors that need to be considered before you get into pricing. Let me break it down for you:

How much light is required? How long does the light need to run? How many days backup is required as most solar light systems are off grid and require a battery backup? There are quite a few factors that need to be taken into consideration before pricing can be offered.

Solar light systems go through a process. Contacting your solar lighting manufacturer or lighting representative is the first step to making sure your system works properly and you have an accurate price. Yes, you can go to some websites and find a price for a solar street light; however, there is no way to guarantee it will work the way you are expecting. A reputable solar light manufacturer or lighting rep will provide specifications and information on exactly how the light will operate as well as backup the product after installation.

Education is the best way to make sure you get exactly what you need. There is tons of product information available on our site and we are available to answer any questions you may have.
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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

Looking to Use a Solar Lighting Option? Talk to a Lighting Specialist

Posted by SEPCO

1/28/14 9:30 AM

SolarLightingOption.jpgThere are so many companies out there today that provide top quality products; however, there are so many cheap alternatives available that get in the mix. Solar lighting is not the cheapest option available. Sometimes switching grid powered lights to LED fixtures is your best alternative. But in the cases where solar lighting is what you need or want, make sure not to talk to just anyone. You want to talk to a lighting specialist to make sure that the lighting will still be adequate for your project.

Solar companies will sometimes sell you the least expensive option available. This is not good practice since the light requirements of most applications cannot be met by the cheap alternative. The first thing that needs to be analyzed is the light level requirement. For example, you need a parking lot to be illuminated from dusk to dawn in Arizona. The parking lot is 500’ square and the lights need to be bright enough for security.

The inexpensive option will not function properly here. Instead, a higher powered LED light fixture is what is needed to ensure illumination. The higher the fixture wattage, the larger the solar power system is required to operate the fixture from dusk to dawn year round.

The system also requires a minimum of 5 days of backup battery storage for times of inclement weather. To do this, the battery storage assembly must be large enough to hold the amp hours required for that backup. Having 5 days autonomy also produces less stress on the batteries, making them last longer in the end.

Starting with a lighting representative can factor all these parts of the equation together including the required lux or lumens of the project. They will be able to design the properly lighting layout and work with the solar company to come up with the best solution to your project.

Solar companies provide the solar and do not always take the lighting levels into consideration when assessing the project and providing a solution. There is definitely no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to solar. Talking to the correct people will ensure your system fits your needs while also providing years of flawless lighting.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

4 Questions to Answer Before You Get a Solar Lighting Quote

Posted by SEPCO

1/21/14 9:30 AM

Wanting to use solar lighting for your business? Maybe for a sign. Or a parking lot. Maybe you would like to have solar lighting installed on the roads of your HOA. There are so many applications that solar lighting can perfectly fit into; however, there are six questions that a reputable solar lighting company will ask you. Having the answers before you contact them will ensure a more accurate quote and information provided for your project. It will also make sure your systems perform exactly how you want them to for years to come.

SolarLightingQuestions.jpg

1. Where geographically will your systems be installed?

There is so many factors that goes into making sure your solar lights have enough solar energy to power the lights how they are required. One of the biggest factors is the number of sun hours provided on the worst day of the year, typically December 21st. The reason for this is if you size the system to run perfectly for the summer sun hours only, in the winter the systems will fall short, turning off or not even operating at all. Having an undersized system will also put unnecessary strain on the battery system, making it not last as long as it should. Determine the geographical location of where you want the systems installed. A zip code works perfectly and will help your solar company determine the number of sun hours available.

2. What are you light level requirements?

Knowing the light level requirements for the project is a great way to make sure the lights perform how you need them to. Getting a quote for a 15 Watt LED fixture when high security is needed and a 40 Watt LED would provide better light can completely change your quote around. Make sure you explain to the solar lighting company whether you need something that is very bright or just for small area spot lighting. And remember, the higher the wattage fixture, the larger the solar power system required to power that fixture properly. You can always reduce costs by having the light turn off when it is not needed, or dim down at non-peak times.

3. What are the dimensions of the area requiring light?

This questions needs to be answered no matter what the project is. If it is a sign, making sure the correct size fixture or number of fixtures is specified for the project. Parking lots require fixtures that provide a larger light pattern, but still knowing the size of the overall area will help determine how many fixtures are required. Make sure you get the dimensions of the area needing light and let your solar lighting systems company know. If you have an AutoCAD file or overall sketch of the area, this is a plus, but not needed to provide an accurate quote.

4. Do you require poles?

If you purchase poles from your solar lighting company, they can make sure the pole is sized to hold the weight of the solar as well as be the correct height for the project. If not, they can let you know what size pole you will need. There are many options available and most companies can even get wind load calculations for areas in hurricane prone areas so that the lights will still be there even after a storm.

Making sure you know the answers to the above before contacting your solar lighting company will ensure you will receive the most accurate quote possible. Without the above information, it is hard to determine exactly what your needs are for lighting and can create a lot of back and forth between you and the company. If the questions are not even asked, this is a good sign that your solar light will not operate how you expect it and you should look for a more reputable company.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

5 Useful Tools for a Successful Commercial Solar Lighting Project

Posted by SEPCO

12/3/13 9:30 AM

Commercial-Solar-Lighting.jpgThere are many things to consider when using commercial solar light systems for any project. First and foremost, not all solar lights are created equal and there is definitely no “one size fits all” solution. Due to sun hour differences in different parts of the world as well as needs for every project can be completely different, utilizing these five tools and working with a qualified solar lighting specialist will ensure your commercial solar lighting project be a successful one.

1. Google Earth

Where is your project located? The first thing to figure out is where exactly is the solar lighting systems going to be installed. One of the best tools is to use Google Earth to see the exact location to learn about any obstacles that could create a problem, such as shading from nearby trees or buildings. It is also used to determine rough estimates of the size area that will be lit.

2. NREL

The next thing to do is find out the number of sun hours available in your project’s location. Since each system is built for worst-case scenario, you need to look at the sun hours available in the winter. Since you size a project to run flawlessly when there is little sun, and then in the summer the system will have no issues at all. NREL is a great place to start this process.

3. AutoCAD

AutoCAD can be a great tool to get exact dimensions as well as terrain and other pertinent information for a project. The file can also be uploaded into a lighting engineering software to show a more detailed layout of the project including light levels (see 5). AutoCAD also allows for finding obstacles that may not be visible on Google Earth. This is not a requirement for every project, but a very helpful tool.

4. Wind Load Calculations

Do you live in a hurricane zone area? What type of wind load requirements are in your area? Making sure to let your solar lighting specialist know of specific requirements will ensure that your system is still functioning after a natural disaster. There are many steps a reputable commercial solar lighting company can take when they know the wind load requirements to ensure the durability of the system.

5. Lighting Engineering Software

Finally, lighting analysts software is the last step in any lighting  design for solar. Using the above tools along with other project specifications given by the designer or end user will be brought together in the lighting analysts software. The software provides project specific information such as luminance in either foot-candles or lux depending on the type of requirement needed as well as a visual rendering of what to expect after the installation is completed.

Not going through any of the steps above is a good sign you are being sold a “one size fits all” system that is not guaranteed to operate to its fullest nor meet customer requirements year around. These types of systems may cost less, but will cost more in the end by having to replace parts or the entire system due to failures and not meeting the requirements set forth in the beginning of the project.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

Great Tips from a Solar Lighting Specialist

Posted by SEPCO

6/13/13 9:30 AM

Great Tips from a Solar Lighting SpecialistWhen informing potential customer on the subject of commercial solar lighting, it is important to educate on the quality of the lighting system for long term use with a comparison to lower quality short term solar lighting solution. These systems cost much less than commercial grade solar lighting systems and will typically cause the customer more issues and more costs in the long run.

When choosing a solar lighting system, you should look for reliable solar lighting manufacturer with quality components and a warranty to back them up. You should ask for an actual light layout or fixture photometric of the light output of a particular wattage, mounting height, and distribution using an independent light program with at least IESNA standards in mind for the area to be illuminated.

The solar array and battery of a solar lighting system should be sized according to the wattage of the fixture, hours used per night (the longest night in winter if dusk to dawn) and average sun hours in winter when the least amount of sun is available for year round reliability. The size of the solar array should be enough to over replace the lost charge of the battery drained by the fixture every night. The battery capacity should be sized with back-up for inclement weather for at least 5 (more in some areas) nights of lighting in overcast conditions. This will also extend the life of the battery as you do not want a depth of discharge of more than 80% of the listed amp hours of the battery. In colder climates find out what type of batteries the company includes in their equipment and if they have problems freezing.

Keep these things in mind when looking for a sound reliable solar lighting system that will give you many years of lighting without the headaches or having to replace the entire system in a year or two. You usually get what you pay for, and in the world of solar lighting this is very true.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

4 Factors That Could Affect a Solar Street Light Proposal

Posted by SEPCO

5/14/13 8:30 AM

Solar Street Light ProposalThere are many different factors to consider when putting together a solar street light proposal. Not many people know all the considerations required, but here is a list of a few little-known factors that can make the specification process a little less stressful.

1. Traffic Hours

What are the main traffic hours on the street? Does the traffic become minimal after a certain time? When does the traffic pick up again? If there is little to no traffic between 1 am and 5 am, there are no safety concerns with lowering the wattage of the fixture to conserve energy; therefore, reducing the size of the solar required to run the fixture all night.

2. Shading

Is the main road covered by trees? Solar requires direct sunlight to charge the batteries that operate the fixture at night. By making sure the lights are not going to be installed under shade will prevent future operation issues. If the lights need to be mounted under a tree, the solar can be remotely mounted in a sunny area to keep the light pattern even.

3. Lighting Level Requirements

What are the lighting requirements for the street? Is this a two or four lane street? Depending on the lighting requirements and width of the street can determine how many solar street lights are provided in the proposal. With aimed optics, a wider pattern is available in most applications and can reduce the overall number of fixtures needed. This can affect the overall project proposal cost including both the material and the installation.

4. Mounting Requirements

Are there specified mounting requirements such as wind loading? Making sure your solar is mounted to the appropriate pole can change many aspects of the proposal. Wind loading ratings are used in a variety of areas, especially those prone to large storms or hurricanes. Having a high wind load rating will provide a lasting light no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.

With all the parts of a solar street light proposal, making sure all aspects are covered will make sure you get the most accurate proposal available. Talk to your solar lighting professional and don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Street Lighting, Solar Lighting Design

6 Solar Power Lighting System Design Questions

Posted by SEPCO

2/12/13 9:30 AM

Solar Power Lighting System DesignWe receive a tremendous amount of phone calls and e-mails expressing interest in our high performance off-grid solar power lighting systems. In order for our solar lighting specialists to provide a solar lighting system design/quote that will best meet customer’s needs, we invariably need to gather additional information by posing a series of project related questions; the answers for which will give our solar lighting specialists all the information needed to provide a comprehensive solar power lighting system design and quote specifically designed to meet customer’s lighting needs. Project questions include:

1. Where is the project located (zip code) to determine sun hours.

2. What type/style of fixture does your customer want? (i.e. Cobrahead, shoebox, contemporary, decorative...) click here to learn more about fixture choices.

3. What (if any) are the light level requirements?  If no specific light level requirements, general description of lighting objective.

  • Note: the wattage of the fixture determines the overall size and cost of the solar power system

  • If no AutoCAD file is available, in many cases overhead image/dimensions of the project can be pulled up on Google Earth

  • Otherwise a rough hand drawn sketch of the project--with rough dimensions of the area to be illuminated can prove very helpful

4. Do you have dimensions of the area that you want to light?

  • If there is an AutoCAD file of the project, we can provide a detailed lighting plan with the quote as well

5. Do the light fixture(s) need to operate at full intensity from dusk to dawn? 

  • Note: A considerable amount of money can be saved if the light fixture(s) can be turned off or dimmed throughout the course of the night as the means to reduce nightly energy consumption--thus reducing the overall size and cost of solar power system needed to power the light fixture

6. Does customer want light poles included in the quote?  If so, what style (i.e direct burial or anchor base) and what type (i.e. steel, fiberglass, aluminum)

With answers to these questions in mind, our solar lighting specialist will have all the critical information needed to provide a comprehensive solar lighting system design/quote that will undoubtedly meet customer’s lighting needs.

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Topics: Solar Lighting Design

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