Solar Street Lights – Your Common Questions Answered

Solar Street Lights – Your Common Questions Answered

What are solar street lights?

Solar street lights are stand- alone street lights (not connected to the electricity network), that use solar panels and batteries to run. The term ‘solar street light’ may also encompass overhead solar lighting for pathways, bike-ways and car parks.

How common are solar street lights?

They are coming quite common and the uptake is growing rapidly every year. In Australia, they are regularly utilised for remote highway and railway crossing flag lighting, roadworks and construction (mounted on relocatable concrete blocks), car parks, bikeways & pathways, and jetties & marinas. They are well suited to anywhere that is relatively shade free and when it is expensive or logistically difficult to connect to the grid. They are not generally used as a first choice for subdivisions and street/road lighting in areas where power is readily available at the location of the light pole.

How do solar street lights work?

In the daytime, the solar panel creates power from the sun, this power is stored in the battery. The lighting controller (the brains of the system) detects dusk and automatically turns the light on, conversely detecting dawn, turning the light off.

How long do the batteries last?

A well designed solar lighting system should provide a minimum of four full nights battery back-up (allowing for the longest winter nights) running the light at 100% of the pre-agreed light level). A good quality battery should last between 5 and 10 years if the system sizing is correct.

What area coverage aspects are there with solar street lights?

Solar street lights are generally very effective and cost effective for AS/NZS 1158 Pedestrian (P) lighting applications such as pathways, minor roads and car parks. Although they can cater for many larger vehicle (V) lighting categories, there are limitations due to the large size of the solar panel and battery requirements.

What are the components of solar street lights?

Solar Light ComponentsSolar panel with bird deterrent, Light fixture, battery, lighting controller, cable looms, pole, footing. A large solar street light (with more than 90AH 12v battery) is required to have clearly marked miniature circuit breakers and other features to comply with AS/NZS 3000 (electrical safety standards).

What are the advantages of solar street lights over traditional street lights?

Can save money in upfront costs if power is expensive to trench and cable to site. Renewable energy power source = no ongoing power. Can be relocatable on concrete block footings or lighting trailers.

What are the disadvantages?

Tend to be more cost up front than main powered lights if there is power already at site (therefore minimal trenching and cabling required). The solar panels work best with direct sunlight on the solar panel, therefore locations exposed to a lot of shade are problematic.

What are the best or common applications of solar street lights?

AS/NZS 1158 Pedestrian (P) lighting applications such as pathways, minor roads, car parks, jetties & marinas, vehicle (V) applications such as feeder roads, and remote highway intersections.

Are solar street lights “smart”?

Yes, some solar lights are able to be remotely set and monitored, and many have sensors to detect heat/movement, therefore when they detect a pedestrian, they boost to a higher level of brightness for a pre-programmed amount of time before reverting back to the power saver mode (or until the area is vacated).

What are the maintenance requirements of solar street lights?

FAQs for solar street lightsThe solar panel should be kept clean and a visual inspection to ensure the solar panel is facing the equator at the correct angle from the horizontal. Ensure all fasteners are secure and that water is not pooling inside the pole.

What weather resistance do solar street lights have?

Solar lights should be engineered to the wind region requirement of the location, and have sufficient battery back-up to provide reliable all-night light for the particular weather for that location.

Almost all solar street lights utilise LED technology as it is so much more energy efficient that other lighting technologies. With any solar power system, energy efficiency is everything, as it is a very simple power in/power out equation.

Read more about Orca Solar Lighting’s solar street lights >