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  • Writer's pictureDavid Scmitt

Is Solar Streetlighting Feasible?

A wrap-around solar panel on a streetlight pole.

When we work with communities to help them make streetlighting improvements, we frequently get asked, "Is solar streetlighting feasible?" It is a good question, but there are a few factors to consider when evaluating a solar solution to lighting challenges.

Do Solar Powered Streetlights Work?

The short answer is yes, solar systems work! A typical solar streetlighting system consists of several components that work together to power the streetlights. The solar panel collects sunlight during the day and converts it into electricity, which is stored in a battery connected to the panel. This stored electricity is then used to power the streetlight overnight. Solar technology has been around for decades and has improved over time, resulting in lower costs for batteries and solar panels. There are various options for building a reliable solar-powered system, and they are designed by manufacturers to function in different environments.

Do Solar Streetlights Cost Effective?

Ongoing cost improvements in solar panel and battery technology make them a reliable and cost-effective option for providing power. Both solar panels and batteries are experiencing long-term decreases in costs. In addition, solar-powered systems can save on costs associated with grid-connected systems, such as the materials and installation required for wiring. In many cases, the cost of solar streetlights is less than the cost of grid-connected streetlights.

Do Solar Streetlighting Make Sense For Your Location?

Understanding location is important in determining if solar streetlighting will be an effective lighting solution. Several factors, such as climate, geography, the location of existing power sources, and aesthetics, are important to consider. For example, frequent rain or snow, wind, and extreme temperatures can impact the performance of solar panels and batteries. In addition, the latitude of the location can affect the amount of sunlight received by the panels and the amount of energy stored in the batteries. Solar streetlights are available in various designs to fit the visual character of a project and can be chosen to blend in or stand out. Manufacturers can also provide information on the operating temperature range of batteries and the wind speeds that streetlight poles can withstand. Taking all of these factors into account can help determine if solar streetlighting is the right choice for a given project.

Fortunately, for communities considering solar streetlighting, solar power is a reliable and cost-effective option. The technologies that power solar streetlighting are well-established, and the costs of components are continuing to decrease. Understanding the location of a project and the goals of the project can help determine if solar streetlights are the right solution.

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