Businesses are always looking for ways to increase their bottom line while also providing a good image to their customers. Solar LED lighting solutions can positively impact a business for a few different reasons by incorporating various systems around a facility. Let’s go over how to make the biggest impact with solar LED lighting solutions and what goes into making sure everything is designed to perfection.
Impacts On Your Business
Solar LED lighting solutions impact businesses by affecting their bottom line, their overall green initiative, and their image to the customer. Doing this in a real way can have nothing but positive effects on a company.
Impact your bottom line
Solar lighting solutions will impact your bottom line, especially in the long term. Installing solar in the initial build phase of a business will do the most impact regarding the bottom line since the ROI will be much faster than if installed as an afterthought. However, installing during an update can also have a fast ROI when many businesses start to see failures of traditional infrastructure.
The solar lights reduce the cost of wiring parking lots and entrance roadways with standard electricity. Solar can also be a great solution for remote locations, like a sign or flag, where traditional power may not have extended. They also allow for the addition of lights on existing areas that do not have access to the electric grid, like for a parking lot expansion.
Replacement of existing operational electricity does not have the initial financial impact since the purchase of the solar lighting systems can be costly; however, when looking at the long term ROI of the solar project, and comparing that to electrical costs that rise year after year, the savings will add up in the long run.
Impact your green initiative
Is your business looking to be more green and have less of an impact on the environment? Solar LED lighting solutions provide just that. Since the systems are off the grid, they use no power to operate the fixtures and have a zero-carbon impact.
The systems charge during the day and operate from the solar-charged batteries at night. The system is completely self-contained and practically maintenance-free with the implementation of LEDs; there are little costs past initial installation.
The only thing to worry about is changing batteries, but these are also recyclable, so there is much less impact there. The LEDs have a lifespan of 20+ years in most cases and the solar panel has a 30+ year lifespan.
Impact your image with customers
Image is always top on the list of any business; you always want to attract customers to your place and show your best “face”. With the climate change awareness that is happening today, people prefer to use companies who are reducing their impact on our environment and local small businesses over large corporations who continue to feed into the cause of the issues. Businesses that have chosen to implement green initiatives like solar power and cutting carbon emissions have seen their profit margins grow, some upwards of 20 percent, as the public learned of their eco-friendly business practices.
Showcasing what you are doing to reduce your impact and green initiative to your customers by using solar lighting, along with using solar power to help offset your actual building electrical usage, will impact your image positively to your customers. It shows how you are looking out for our future and doing your part to lessen your impact on the earth.
Impact your image with employees
It’s not just your consumer base who cares about ethical business practices. Your current and future employees do as well! A study conducted by UCLA found that when a company chooses to invest in eco-friendly business practices, its employees are 16 percent more productive than average. Employees who believe in the heart of a company are also more likely to stay with a company, rather than seeking another opportunity. All of this leads to a better top and bottom line for any organization!
Design Questions Required for a Solar Lighting Solution Setup
So what goes into designing an off-grid solar LED lighting system? For our solar lighting specialists to provide a solar lighting system design and quote that will best meet your needs, we need to gather additional information by posing a series of project-related questions. These answers provide the information needed to provide a comprehensive solar lighting system design and quote specifically designed to meet your lighting needs. Project questions include:
- Where is the project located (address and zip code) to determine sun hours? The solar insolation varies from location to location, and what is designed for one location can be very different from another location. For example, a parking lot light in Florida will be much different than one installed in Michigan.
- What type/style of fixture do you want? (i.e. Cobrahead, shoebox, contemporary, decorative...) Each fixture has its pros and cons, and the architectural / design needs of a project should also be taken into consideration. Many fixtures can provide the same lighting pattern as their industrial counterparts, ensuring the same lighting from one fixture to the next.
- What are the light level requirements? If there are no specific light level requirements, a general description of the lighting objective would work. Many people just like to pick an arbitrary wattage, and it is usually as bright as possible; however, if you look at lighting in a different way, such as the Lumens of a lamp vs the Wattage of the lamp, you can see that there is major differences. What used to need a 400 Watt light may only need a 60 Watt light today due to efficiency increases and direction LEDs.
- Do you have the dimensions of the area that you want to light? AutoCAD files work best if a complete lighting design and layout are required. If no AutoCAD file is available, in many cases overhead images/dimensions of the project can be pulled up on Google Earth, so providing an address will work. Otherwise, a rough hand-drawn sketch of the project--with rough dimensions of the area to be illuminated can prove very helpful
- Does 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. The dimming or off times reduces nightly energy consumption, thus reducing the overall size and cost of the solar power system needed to power the light fixture.
- Do light poles need to be included in the quote? If so, what style (i.e direct burial or anchor base)? Existing light poles are almost never allowed to be reused as they are not designed to handle the weight and EPA of the solar power assembly. Poles and foundations should be designed to meet the AASHTO wind load ratings of the installation site.
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 customers’ lighting needs.
The above questions work for most applications. Other questions can vary depending on the project. Those variations include:
Signs & Billboards – What size is the sign and is it single or double-sided? Is it flood illuminated or internally illuminated?
Flags – How tall is the flagpole? What is the size of the flag?
Bus Stops & Shelters – Is the system pole or roof mounted? Send along information regarding shelter construction.
Off-Grid Power – What are the power requirements of the system? Send along information including part numbers / model numbers of the equipment.
All additional details that can be provided for a project helps the engineers and solar specialists ensure that the project is sized accordingly and meets the needs of the project. Providing as much information as possible at the beginning of the project will help speed the process along and get your project worked up quickly.
Various Solutions Available for Businesses
Businesses can install one or multiple types of solar LED lighting solutions on a single site. Let’s look at these various applications and the solutions available. Some systems will be similar to one another, while others can vary greatly, all depending on the project needs.
Solar Parking Lot Lighting Solutions
The parking lot of any facility is the most thought about when it comes to lighting. Solar parking lot lighting solutions keep employees and customers safe when they are coming to and from your business. Having proper illumination ensures that visibility isn’t reduced, and people feel safe coming and going from their cars, especially late at night.
The lights don’t have to operate at full intensity all night in all cases. Sometimes the lights can be turned off or reduced an hour or so after the last person leaves the facility. In some cases, especially manufacturing where three shifts are operating, having the lights operate with motion detectors or just stay on full is best practice.
Solar Sign Lighting Solutions
The company sign is the second most thought-about application when it comes to lighting. Solar sign lighting solutions can be used for internal signs which require power to LED strips inside a sign cabinet, or for flood illuminated signs, typically made of wood or concrete. These signs have a single solar power assembly to operate the flood fixtures or LED modules. Signs typically operate from dusk to dawn, but in some cases, having the signs turn off a few hours after the company closes can help reduce the costs of the system as it reduces the overall size of the system.
Solar Entrance Roadway Lighting Solutions
Not all facilities have an entrance roadway, but if they do, using solar roadway lighting solutions can provide plenty of illumination to people driving around a facility. These are similar to the parking lot lights and are quite large systems still; however, they provide lighting to a long strip of the roadway instead of a large area like parking lot lights. This is achieved by using optics and distribution patterns on the LED fixtures.
Solar Pathway Lighting Solutions
Solar pathway lighting solutions are used along walkways and pathways around a facility. Some of these can be between buildings, around a parking lot, and out to various sites. These are typically small narrow walkways and have lower mounted lights. These lights can resemble the larger parking lot lights used on the same facility, but just at reduced output and mounting.
Solar Security Lighting Solutions
Solar security lighting solutions can be used in remote areas, such as loading docks, dumpster areas, and other types of areas where lighting isn’t always necessary, but would be good for safety and security. These areas use floodlights, but with optics available on other overhead fixtures, they are being phased out and replaced with standard fixtures.
In the end, utilizing solar LED lighting solutions will provide a huge impact on a business's finances and image. Solar lights are best when provided at the beginning of a project, but are also great for areas looking to upgrade and have issues with current infrastructure. If everything is perfectly operating, going solar can still be good for applications where you are expanding on existing installations. Look for those areas where you can make the biggest impact and build from there.