Recently we worked with a local park and recreation department to complete a solar outdoor bollard lights project for their pathway around a covered playground area. The bollards provided the needed light around the pedestrian walkway for visitors at night and added safety for this residential area. Let's take a quick look at different style bollards used for projects like these.
Integrated Solar Bollards
There are bollards on the market that have the solar panel integrated into the top of the fixture with the batteries inside the bollard fixture itself. These bollards are great for low-light level requirements with no need for backup or reliability. They typically range from 300 to 1500 lumens and have a small solar panel built into the top of the fixture itself.
These types of bollards are prone to theft and vandalism; however, a few companies manufacturing these put in the effort to provide a quality product that can stand up to these issues.
These systems are great for pathways that do not require much lighting and are used primarily for just path markers. These are great to install in a wide-open area and where shading is not an issue. They are also easier to install than other bollard lighting systems since everything is self-contained in one unit.
Non-integrated Solar Bollards
Unlike the integrated solar bollards, we produce a system with one solar power assembly operating multiple bollard fixtures. This setup allows us to produce a fixture with more light output and can allowes the customer to install the fixtures in the shade, under trees or near tall buildings. In addition, the solar power assembly is mounted high on a pole, out of harm's way, and the power is trenched to the individual fixtures.
The solar in these projects are sized for the load and operational requirements of the project. The solar sizing also considers the availability of sun in the installation location and how long the lights need to operate. Finally, the battery bank is sized to provide adequate backup for times of inclement weather.
This design requires a bit of trenching, burying the wiring from the solar panel to each bollard on the string; however, there is still much less trenching than is necessary to bring in traditional grid power. In addition, the low voltage cabling needed is much less dangerous than traditional power cabling and the length of cable required is much less.
Which Solar Bollard System is Best?
Depending on your lighting needs, each of these types of systems has its pros and cons. Bollards needed for path markers, don't need to operate all night, and can be installed in an open area can use an integrated system. Bollards that need to be ultra-reliable, installed in a shady area such as a park, and need more illumination for safety, should opt for a split system design. Work with your local lighting rep or solar lighting specialist to determine the best system for your project.