Solar lighting systems provide security and illumination in needed areas when grid power is unattainable or costly to bring to a site, where a company is looking for a grid alternative to showcase their green initiative, or for companies looking to get LEED points for a new project installation. Solar lights are a great alternative and a cost effective solution for projects like this since there isn’t much for installation costs and zero costs to trench in the grid power.
Complete solar lighting systems range from small one LED fixture, each with its own integrated panel and battery, which run along a home’s driveway, to powerful street and flood lights that can illuminate a 150’ area using a large solar power system mounted on top of a pole. No matter what the application, if power is unavailable or cost prohibitive, solar is definitely the way to go.
Solar lighting is a green alternative to traditional lighting using no power at all from the grid. Since the systems are completely powered by solar energy, one of the world’s leading renewable energy technologies. The solar feeds batteries during the day and most batteries are completely recyclable, especially the ones used in a solar application. At night, the long lasting LED fixtures operate off the stored power to illuminate the area. The next day, this process repeats with no outside energy source.
Low Cost Installation
Installation can be very low cost, sometimes much lower than trenching grid power to the location the lights are required. Poles still get set just like with standard grid powered light, well maybe with larger footers; however, there is no underground conduit running from the main power source from pole to pole. All wiring is located at the top of the pole or on a nearby pole for some installations, and is also low voltage which makes it much safer for installation and maintenance. Finally, barriers such as root systems, underground utilities, or other obstacles typically causing issues with standard electric trenching are no longer an issue.
The systems are practically maintenance free, especially since the use of LED fixtures has become more popular with a 20+ year lifespan on LED lights. With correct installation, maintenance on a commercial solar lighting system consists of the batteries every five to seven years. While making the battery change, completing a visual check of the solar panel’s glass and light fixture, cleaning of any components is also recommended. All other components should have a life span of 20-30+ years and not require maintenance.
Zero Energy Bills
Finally, there are no electrical power bills associated with utilizing solar. The upfront costs of a commercial system can be intimidating, but the overall savings can easily be shown when compared to the above reasons. There are also financial incentives to reduce the initial costs of the solar system when dealing with commercial systems, see online at www.dsireusa.org.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.