Many things are certain in life. Along with death and taxes, day and night, there will always be a need for light. However, the need for light does not necessarily mean the need for electricity. Almost everyone has heard of solar power, but they may not know that it is harnessed to provide light where it is most needed—in solar street lights.
What Does a Solar Street Light Look Like?
Solar street light it is now used in cities and along busy highways to keep pedestrians and drivers safe. You may have seen solar street lights in your town or along the highway. They usually consist of three main parts: the lamp, the mast and the solar panel.
The solar panels attach to the top of the pole and are angled to absorb the maximum amount of sunlight. Solar energy is stored in batteries and released when needed. The lights are automatically timed to turn on at sunset.
Benefits of Solar Power
Many private companies and municipal, county and state-owned enterprises are turning to solar street lights because of their environmental benefits, low maintenance and zero electricity costs. There are no sources of hazardous high-voltage electricity connected to solar power, and solar lighting is always renewable as it draws its power from the sun, making it a sustainable alternative light source to electric street lights.
Cost of Solar Power vs Electricity
The initial investment in parts for a solar-powered street light can cost about four times as much as an AC-powered lamp; however, other costs make solar powered lights a smart investment. For example, the installation cost of connecting an AC street light to the grid is more than 5.5 times the cost of installing a solar street light.
Of course, the cost of electric power for AC street lights is many times that of solar powered lights. Usually, solar powered street lights use zero electricity, but can be arranged to use electricity as a backup. AC street lights typically use about $250 of electricity per year.
Over a 25 year period, electric street lights cost about $6,000 worth of electricity. If you multiply that by the number of street lights needed to illuminate an important freeway area, you see a huge cost. In comparison, solar street lights will require zero electricity costs, no matter how many lamps are needed to illuminate the street.
The only area other than the part where solar street lights cost more is the total maintenance cost over 25 years. Because solar lamps use more advanced technology than AC lamps, the cost of replacing parts is three times higher than that of AC lamps.
Another great thing about solar street lights is that the US government offers a 30 percent federal tax credit off the purchase price and installation cost of the solar street lights. Some states and local cities are offering further credits and incentives towards the use of solar street lights. This makes the cost of solar lighting more competitive.
Solar Power in the World Today
Real-world applications for solar street light usage can lead to a better understanding of how solar solutions can help when AC applications fail. For example, in Kabul, Afghanistan, US engineers installed solar-powered street lights in the city. AC-powered street lamps were not an option as Kabul’s power grid was old and destroyed by years of bombing.
The federal mandate that all US federal buildings run on renewable energy means that many federal facilities use, or are in the process of using, solar-powered street lights. One US Marine Corps base converted an existing street light into a solar lamp by using an existing light pole and installing an LED solar powered fixture. Instead of using separate solar panels for each light, standalone ground-mounted solar panels are used with power to gather enough solar energy to power up to four street lights each.
It’s easy to see that in many cases, solar power may be the best or the only sustainable solution for lighting an area. When the costs associated with solar-powered street lights are examined closely, the long-term costs show that thousands of dollars can be saved by harnessing solar power. Not only is solar power the most cost-effective solution, but the beneficial effect on the environment is immediately apparent because the CO2 released into the environment using this method is very low.
Whenever you have a lighting project to consider, be sure to research the benefits of solar lighting. This will not only help the environment, it will also help your company by showing the public that you are an eco-friendly provider.
Solar myWorld supplies and installs Solar Power and Solar Hot Water Systems right across from Perth!. Inverter, LED Lighting and Security solutions are also available. Please visit at www.solarmyworld.com.au