Photovoltaic street lights, or commonly known as solar street lights, are becoming more popular and are popping up all over the world. There are so many benefits to using these types of street lights, but improving sustainability is my personal favorite. Here's why:
By providing a solution that is sustainable, the economy can only benefit. Increasing jobs for development and installation allows for unemployment rates to decrease. Providing a lower utility to the cities and municipalities means tax dollars can be spent on more beneficial applications such as improving schools and other public facilities. And having a green alternative gives the area a sense of pride in helping lower their impact on the environment. There are so many economic benefits that come from installing a solar option that everyone benefits in one way or another.
Using photovoltaic street lights provides a reduced reliance on fossil fuels as the power is self-contained and provided daily by the sun. This impact initially lowers emissions into our atmosphere. Also a much forgotten aspect is the lower installation requirements. Since the poles are set with no underground trenching, less heavy equipment is required to complete even the largest installation.
With the increase in efficiency of LED fixtures, we are now able to lower wattages while not losing light. This is lowering the amount of solar power and battery backup required to keep the system going. It is also providing better visibility and can even be installed with wildlife friendly or dark sky optics to ensure there is little to no impact on our environment.
Using photovoltaic street lights provides a benefit to the future of a community. With global warming and environmental issues coming to a head, using a sustainable source of energy for lighting shows that the community cares about its future. It also provides increased security for the area by providing adequate lighting to areas that may not currently be properly lit. Finally, it allows people to utilize areas after dark for community gatherings.
Providing a sustainable solution in the world today will ensure we are able to provide a better future for tomorrow. With more cities and municipalities moving towards sustainable practices, photovoltaic street lights can help push forward to a future of lowered fossil fuel reliance and overall increase in economic, environmental and social sustainability.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in August 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.