Almost all of us have passed by solar street lights at some point in our lives, if not regularly. They are present alongside roads to maneuver us with light. But I will not be making an incorrect assumption when I say, it is the most we know about street solar lights. If you are here, then you are probably looking to learn more about them. Like, how many types of solar panel street lights are out there?
There are 3 primary types of solar street lights:
- Grid-tie hybrid solar street light
- All-in-one solar street light
- Off-Grid Split solar street light
Recently, more and more specifications of these types are being created. Each has different price ranges, depending on the features they consist of.
Hence, in this article, I am going to highlight the types of solar street lights (with price comparison). I will also include some additional information so that you can have some further insights. I would recommend reading the article so that you can get all the relevant information regarding solar panel street lights.
Types of Solar Panels Used In Solar Street Lights?
Before we focus on the types of solar street lights, I think you should know that the solar panel is the most fundamental part of a solar street light. The panels usually are fixed onto the poles or the lighting structure. They are the ones who convert solar energy into electricity and enable the lamps to use them.
So, the type of solar panel street light is basically referring to the type of solar panel they use most of the time. And there are many types of solar panels in the market. Here are some of the most common ones used in street lights.
Monocrystalline solar panels consist of monocrystalline solar cells. Each cell is made of a single silicon crystal. They have the most efficiency in comparison to others and also have a higher life span.
This is also why they are quite expensive. The price range of this overall solar panel system is from approximately $6000-$10000.
Polycrystalline solar panels include many silicon crystals inside one cell. Many fragments of silicon are melted together to create the wafers of such panels.
Although they are less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels and have a lower life span, they are more affordable. The price of the overall system ranges from approximately $5400-$6000.
3 Common Types Of Solar Street Lights
Overall, there are three most common types of solar street lights. Recently, new specifications are being created for all these types.
Do keep in mind, I am including the general prices of the systems only and I will not dive into the specifications too much so as not to confuse you. There are additional costs associated with the overall installation and maintenance process.
Grid-tie hybrid Solar Street Light
The grid-tie hybrid solar street light consists of an AC/DC hybrid controller. It also includes an additional 100-240 Vac constant power supply, generally.
This system is more efficient because when you combine the wind with the sun, both of them produce energy at different times. Hence, the overall energy is more. The average price range is from $60-$150.
All-in-one Solar Street Light
All-in-one solar street lights are the most popular during this time. LED lights, batteries, and controllers will all be present in one body lamp. This system even helps save energy.
It consists of automatic motion sensors which brighten and dim the light, depending on the presence of people walking underneath. Its price range starts from $90-$200.
Off-Grid Split Solar Street Light
Off-Grid Split solar street lights are typically placed in regions where there is no electrical wiring. Due to these, these solar street lights require extra effort and maintenance.
This may include manpower, capital, tons of wiring. As a result, these solar street lights are quite expensive in comparison to others with prices ranging from $150-$400.
In addition, in this system, each pole has its own independent unit. This is where the solar panel is stored, also known as the power source. This component is perfect for any area which has sunlight.
How to Choose Solar Street Lights?
It can be extremely confusing to pick one type of street light. This is because they all come in different sizes and shapes, with each feature being more unique and distinct from the others. Yet there are certain factors you should consider before choosing a solar street light.
PIR motion sensor
Passive Infrared (PIR) motion sensors are a crucial component of solar street lights. Their purpose is to conserve battery life. Because of heat energy, all objects that have a temperature above absolute zero, emit infrared radiation.
With the help of these PIR motion sensors, you can detect any sort of movement or motion by measuring infrared light or radiation.
Lighting efficacy rating
The lighting efficacy rating is significant. This is because it demonstrates how much energy is produced in comparison with how much energy is consumed. It is measured by total light output being divided by the total input power.
Battery and solar storage
With the help of photovoltaic cells, solar street lights draw energy from the sun. Then, they store this electricity in a battery so that they can serve your lighting needs later on.
Hence, you need to look for a solar panel and battery combination that provides a massive milliampere-hour capacity (mAh). By looking at the luminaire energy draw, you can check the ratio between the solar panel and the battery.
In addition, you need to make sure that the battery has the capacity to have the light running for several hours and also, that the solar panel is sufficient enough to charge the battery.
Right Illumination Levels
Recommended by the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IES), there are many light levels or illumination levels that you can look into for various lighting applications. The suggested amounts of light are prescribed within the footcandles, which is the general amount of light present on a surface.
Footcandles are important for the consideration of solar street lights as they show how much illumination a surface is actually receiving. During this time, it is also important to consider the color temperature, which should be measured in kelvin.
For the light level, you can take the measurements with the help of a handheld light detector. Usually, a 3:1 ratio (bright/dark) between the darkest and brightest region is an ideal amount but a 4:1 ratio is also acceptable as a minimum amount.
Choosing between HID lights and LED lights
Conventionally, high-intensity discharge (HID) lights were used for solar street lights. The metal lamps of HID usually consisted of a starting gas, an arc tube (burner), and a bulb (outer envelope). Voltage is supplied to the quartz or ceramic arc tube by the ballast. As a result, the gas begins to ionize. The gas is usually mercury, argon, or metal halide salts.
Inside the bulb, gradually the temperature and pressure begin to increase. Thus, components in the arc tube begin vaporizing. They start to emit UV radiation and light. Though the lights are bright, they need to be replaced frequently and are not energy efficient. Hence, more and more people are switching to light-emitting diodes (LED) lights.
LED lights use tiny microchips in order to produce visible light within the diodes. The overall process is quite efficient. Even the bulbs do not burn out like other common light fixtures.
The LED procedure is quite slow due to which such solar street lights will not need to be replaced frequently, even after many years upon their installation. Instead, LED lights begin to dim over time, a process known as lumen degradation.
What are The Benefits of Solar Street Lights?
You probably already know that the major advantage of using street solar light is that they enable a renewable energy source, in the form of sunlight. Instead of exhausting energy from Earth, they draw it from the sun. Yet, there are a lot of additional advantages as well.
- Secure and long-lasting: Solar Street lights do not have any safety issues because they do not use alternating currents. Due to its advanced manufacturing technology, solar street lights last up to ten years at the minimum. In addition, they are able to produce energy for twenty-five years, if not more.
- Easy installation process: Solar Street lights do not consist of any complex wiring systems. The overall process is extremely convenient. It also does not require too many materials or any labor. All they require is a battery pit and a strong base for its settlement.
- Low maintenance costs and advanced technology: Monitored by the solar charge controller, the solar street lights can alter the intensity of the lights according to people’s preferences and the usual brightness of the surroundings. They also need cyclical inspection only. Hence, maintenance costs are relatively low.
I hope this article has helped you learn a lot more about the types of solar street lights (with price comparison). You should by now have a basic idea about the types of solar street lights, along with their price ranges. This can assist you in your future when you want to pick out solar street lights on your own.
If you have the opportunity to switch to solar street lights, I would sincerely urge you to. They are very good for the environment and this planet’s future. Wishing you a lovely day ahead!