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Solar Outdoor Sign Lights for Nighttime Marketing

SEPCO 5/9/13 7:30 AM
Solar Outdoor Sign Lights for Nighttime Marketing

Is your business open after dark? Or located on the main roadway? Or is it maybe set back way off the road and your sign tells your customers where you are? Or maybe you just want to advertise your business after you have left for the day? Lighting your business’ sign up at night provides inexpensive marketing that lasts and lets passersby know where your business is located.


There are many different styles of signs available. Internal signs and large monuments illuminated by floods are both used in business applications. Making sure yours is properly illuminated at night will provide optimum visibility to travelers on the road. Here are some great tips on getting maximum exposure at the least cost.


Why Solar?

In many cases, power for the sign lighting is an afterthought. Or the sign is installed in a remote area or in a median where power isn’t very accessible. A solar outdoor sign light provides a great way to light the sign without the added electricity costs to the business. Having the sign illuminated allows it to be visible after the sun goes down.


Opting for a solar solution is also great for the environment. The solar doesn’t require additional wiring to be trenched over to the sign’s installation location, nor does it need to operate off any grid power at all. The solar collects the energy during the day and stores it in fully recyclable batteries. At night, the batteries provide the needed power to the fixtures or LED modules.


Types of Systems

There are two main types of sign systems. The most common is solar floodlighting systems, followed by internally illuminated signs.


Flood systems are used for small to large monument signs. One flood is typically used for every 5-10’ area, and multiple fixtures can be powered by a single power source. The fixture is typically ground-mounted out in front of the sign face, set back a few feet, and integrated into the landscape.


The other common mount is directly on the sign using a short arm to push the light fixture out away from the sign face. This is commonly used in areas where snowfall is common or where the sign is mounted high up, such as an overpass sign.


Internally illuminated signs use a long strip of LED modules to illuminate from the inside out. These are typically higher powered and require a much larger solar power assembly since they require more LEDs to evenly illuminate the sign face.


Sign Operation

In many cases, customers opt for dusk to dawn operation because that is what is used with traditional electric signs. However, there are limitations when using solar power. Some areas don’t get as much sun, especially in the winter months, and require a very large solar power assembly to operate all night. Instead, to reduce costs, having the lights operate part of the night and then shut off when traffic dies down will allow for a smaller solar requirement.


For example, if your company closes at 10 PM, having the signs turn off at 11 PM will still provide visibility until most people have gone home. Then you can even have the light set to come back on early in the morning to catch the eye of people out first thing. However, if the sign is used to direct deliveries all night, dusk to dawn is definitely the way to go.


The Solar System

The solar system is mounted nearby the sign with the solar facing directly south to capture as much sun as possible. The system is sized according to the power draw and operation requirements of the project. It also considers the geographical installation location and the length of the night in the winter. The system then is sized properly to provide enough power for the night’s operation and plenty of backup for times of inclement weather.


There are times when the solar can also be mounted directly to the sign or integrated into the top of the sign. These applications are rare, but working with your designer can help you determine if there are other mounting options available. These types of setups are not recommended in areas where there is snowfall or where the sign is in a shaded area.


Keeping your brand in front of potential customers is a great way to market your business. One of the easiest is with your business sign. Make sure it is visible to your potential customers and well illuminated, and solar is able to help when the power doesn’t exist.


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