solar street lighting

3 Questions to Determine if Solar Street Lighting is Best for Your Project

solar street lighting

When discussing options for lighting public areas, solar isn’t always the first thought to come to mind. We know a lot of CFOs and project managers are hesitant to make the switch, and so we’re here to show that solar street lighting might be a more viable route for your energy and lighting needs. Here are three questions to ask yourself if you want to know if solar is right for you. You’d be surprised to hear the differences in traditional vs. solar lighting and how resilient solar fixtures can be.

Are you looking for a green alternative?

It’s a bit of a no-brainer that solar energy is a “greener” option. Solar light fixtures are separate from any neighboring city’s power supply system, so they’re “off the grid” in a sense. Maintenance for solar street lighting systems is incredibly low, and they’re self-sufficient meaning they won’t be affected by any nearby power outages or fluctuations. If you’re thinking green, solar is definitely the strongest option.

Does Your Lighting Fixture Have Access to a Power Grid?

We’ve been approached by project managers, CFOs, retail management teams, and project leads to help them build lighting solutions in some of the most unfriendly-to-build areas. Think of implementing an entire solar lighting fixture inside a beautiful park. Bringing power to the park isn’t a two-step process and involves digging a trench to supply electricity to the area, which could potentially destroy beautification efforts and close the park for an extended period of time. Why bother with expensive trenching? Solar skips that with self-contained fixtures.

What Are the Costs with the Scale of Your Project?

The installation cost, operation cost, and maintenance cost of traditional street lights per unit range from $7,000-8,000 over a 10 year period, while the solar street light cost is estimated at $3,500-5,000 over the same period of time. That’s no small chunk of change, and we’re sure the person that has the final say in writing the checks favors spending less over more.

Harness the power of the sun by using solar to light whatever it is you need. There are plenty of hidden benefits we’d love to bring to light (pun intended) with solar, but don’t take our word for it. Feel free to browse the bevy of customer case studies we’ve got on our site, or contact us to learn more.

solar lighting

Why Is Solar Outdoor Lighting So Popular?

solar lighting

At present, more than 80 American cities have announced new plans to move away from fossil fuels by launching renewable energy programs. Take California as an example. It is rich in natural resources and very supportive of using renewable energy. As early as 2009, 11.6% of California’s electricity was generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and small hydropower facilities. At the end of 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that required 50% of California’s electricity to come from renewable sources by December 31, 2030.

Among those current renewable energy sources, solar energy is the most abundant and easily available energy source. With the popularity of solar water heaters, the use of other solar products has become more and more popular. Solar outdoor lighting is one of them. Here are the 3 reasons why solar outdoor lighting continues to be popular in recent years.

renewable energy trends

Solar Is Environmentally Friendly

According to the data, in 2017, hydroelectric energy accounts for the largest share of renewable energy use. However, hydropower plants require large-scale water conservancy projects that will destroy the original natural environment. Solar is more environmental-friendly because most solar products are independent and won’t do harm to the environment.  

Using solar outdoor lighting to replace traditional electric lighting is an easy way for a city to decrease its carbon footprint, because the solar panels generate energy from the sun, while thermoelectricity power relies on burning fossil fuels.


Believe it or not, solar lighting is the most cost effective lighting solution. Some people take it for granted that solar products are expensive, but that is far from the truth. Although the purchase price of solar lights is higher than that of ordinary lights, it turns out that the money saved from avoiding extra upfront costs associated with traditional street lights, such as trenching and wiring, will eventually add up and cover the costs of the initial payment for solar lighting almost immediately.

We compared the total costs of these two types of lights in Cost Effectiveness: Traditional Street Lights VS. Solar Energy Lights, and the result is that the total cost of traditional street lights per unit ranges from $7,000-8,000 over a 10 year period, while solar street light cost is estimated at $3,500-5,000 over the same period of time.

National Support for Solar Outdoor Lighting

In 2012, Alabama launched a solar street lighting project to replace 36 aging and outdated mercury vapor lamps along US Highway 431. It saves the city about $7,000 a year and reduces light pollution. The environmental benefits of solar outdoor lighting, combined with its sustainability and safety, encourage more and more cities in the US to establish policies implementing solar outdoor lighting projects. By using renewable, solar energy, cities are moving towards a more healthy, vibrant, and equitable communities.
Solar lighting represents the future. Come and join the trend.

solar park lighting

Advantages of Solar for Recreation Area & Park Lighting

solar park lighting

The ability to gather, enjoy the outdoors, and create memories with friends and family plays a big part in our everyday lives, and the need for outdoor public spaces is growing nationwide. On top of building the infrastructure, adequate lighting is one of the most common design requests parks and recreation officials receive from patrons.

Lighting can clarify the layout of outdoor spaces by emphasizing walkways, focal points, gathering places, and building entrances. More importantly, it boosts safety after dark. In recent years, the trend of using energy-efficient technology and reducing environmental impact in lighting design has proliferated in the country’s construction space. Park administrators, in particular, have chosen to use solar lighting technology for many of its projects.

Park Safety After Dark

Three major areas of concern with lighting include 1) safety after dark, 2) energy efficiency, and 3) trenching and wiring. Lighting can be used to enhance safety and increase park usage. The metropolitan areas in Los Angeles, California were troubled by frequent gang-related crimes, especially during the warm summer months. After the local parks and community leaders adopted a program called Summer Night Lights, which extends the nighttime operating hours in eight parks to ensure the safety of children and families from violence in the neighborhoods, they achieved overwhelmingly positive results. The Summer Night Lights program doubled in size its second year and has become a national model for reducing crime by keeping the lights on a little longer.

Energy Efficiency for Parks & Recreation Areas

Modern lighting technology and fixtures are maximizing park resources and making it easier to adopt energy-efficient, cost-saving strategies. For example, the New York Power Authority will spearhead an effort to install 500,000 LED street lights by 2025 in New York, the largest municipal lighting system in the country. The program, called Smart Street Lighting NY, could cut energy use by 482 gigawatt hours annually, saving taxpayers $87 million a year according to New York Government. Since LEDs use only a fraction of the power of incandescent or sodium-vapor bulbs, they can be powered by solar panels, which makes them standalone lighting systems that eliminate wiring, trenching, and other installation costs associated with grid-tied lights.

Off-Grid Lighting System

Solar lighting can be installed in environmentally sensitive areas and locations far removed from the existing electrical grid, making them a popular choice for park projects around the country. Since the costs of trenching and wiring are avoided, solar lighting is the most cost-effective solution from day one. The system is not subject to brownouts or blackouts and can power through extreme weather like hurricanes for five days without sunshine. The environmental benefits and savings on electricity costs make solar lighting a compelling option for park construction. It can also help projects qualify for LEED points.

Strategic Approach to Park Lighting Design

After understanding the technology and applications of different lighting systems, parks and recreation officials should consider a holistic approach to customizing the lighting design based on their city’s specific requirements. The advent of LEDs and solar power systems has also given landscape architects more opportunities for creativity, turning parks into landmarks and therebye drawing more visitors. If you have questions regarding the specifics of lighting design, such as the hierarchy of lighting types and intensities, placement of lighting, consistency of lighting, and coordination with park signage, etc, feel free to reach out to the Lighting Experts of Greenshine New Energy.


lumens vs watts

How Many Lumens Do I Need for Outdoor Lighting?

lumens vs watts

What Is a Lumen & Why Does It Matter

In the past, light was measured in watts, which directly measures the amount of electrical power a light bulb consumes. Therefore, people used to expect light intensity to be a function of how much power a light required—higher watts mean brighter light as well as a higher electric bill. Today however, lumen is a popular measurement for light. A lumen is the unit that defines the intensity of light. This unit can be directly related to the amount of light energy that is being emitted from a particular light source. You will find the specifications for how many lumens a particular bulb emits from its packaging.

In short, the difference between watts and lumens is as follows: wattage measures the amount of electrical power a light bulb consumes; lumens measure the actual brightness, regardless of how much power is needed. When choosing outdoor lighting, lumens are a more valuable measurement than watts.

Lumen Requirements for Outdoor Lights

After continuous practice combined with user feedback, we have summarized the different lumen requirements for various outdoor lights.

Types of Lighting Lumens Requirement
Path lighting 100-200 lumens
Step lights 12-100 lumens
Flood lights 700-1300 lumens
Motion sensor lights 300-700 lumens
Pond/pool lights 200-400 lumens
Hardscape lights (on walls) 50-185 lumens
Landscape 50-300 lumens

Solar LED Lighting Stands for the Future

Lumens have substituted watts to become the new light measurement, because a bulb with higher wattage doesn’t mean it will produce a brighter light. Nowadays, we are trying to produce more light using less energy, and we have to consider 2 things: the bulb and the energy.

LED vs Fluorescent vs Incandescent Energy Consumption

The era of incandescent bulbs is gone (read more in the historical evolution of outdoor lighting bulbs), and the winner is the LED bulb. Although some places still use fluorescent lights, LED has become more and more popular due to its long life and extremely low power consumption. The sheet below shows the power consumption of 3 types of bulbs, and there is no doubt that LED saves the most energy.

450 lumens 800 lumens 1100 lumens 1600 lumens 2600 lumens 5800 lumens
LED 6W 9-10W 13W 16-18W 24W 45W
Fluorescent 8-9W 13-14W 18-19W 23W 40W 85W
Incandescent 40W 60W 75W 100W 150W 300W

Solar & LED Win

With the use of LED lights, solar-powered lighting becomes a more viable option, which saves on energy bills in the long run. Solar power is a green, renewable, and sustainable energy source. It will never run out and can provide lighting indefinitely. It won’t produce greenhouse gases which contribute to global climate change. It’s obvious that there are various advantages to solar energy, which is why they continue to grow at a rapid pace.

In conclusion, people today use “Lumens” to measure the light brightness and how much lighting they need. Under the premise of producing the same lumens lighting, LED bulbs consume much less power than fluorescent and incandescent bulbs. What’s more, LED bulbs combined with solar energy saves you even more on your electricity bills. Whether they do it for saving money or being environmentally-friendly, many cities in America have already switched to solar LED lights for their outdoor street lights, park lights, and so on. Please contact Greenshine New Energy for more information about solar led lighting.


street lamp lighter

Historical Evolution of Outdoor Lamps: From Gas Lamp to LED Lamp

street lamp lighter

What kind of light bulb do you usually see for outdoor Lamps? An Old-fashioned incandescent lamp? Fluorescent light? Or LED lights? You can read the full history of outdoor lighting in the USA here.

Gas Lamp

Gas lighting was developed in England in 1790 and introduced to the United States by William Murdoch. The first place in America to use gas lighting was Pelham Street in Newport, Rhode Island. It was not long before gas fuel was used for street lighting in major, eastern American cities, such as Philadelphia and Baltimore.

Various types of gas fuel include methane, acetylene, butane, propane, hydrogen, and natural gas. Gas lamps are one of the symbols of the Age of Steam, but as people began to enter the age of electricity in the 19th century, gas lamps gradually faded out of fashion.

Incandescent Lamp

The story of the electric lamp begins in 1802 when an Englishman named Humphrey Davy invented the first “arc light”. His lamp produced illumination by creating a blinding electric spark between two charcoal rods. However, this lamp was impractical for daily use: on the one hand, the light was too bright; on the other hand, it could not stably produce light for a long time. However, the principles behind Davy’s arc light contributed to the development of other electric lamps and bulbs introduced in the 19th century.

It should be stressed that Edison was never the first or the only person who tried to invent an incandescent lamp. Warren de la Rue, William Sawyer, and Joseph Swan were all devoted to pursuing this goal. Where Edison succeeded and surpassed his competitors was in developing an inexpensive and long-lasting light bulb that has practical significance.

Standard incandescent lamps are commonly used in traffic lights, although they are increasingly being replaced by other advanced lamps.

Fluorescent Lamp

The revolution of outdoor lighting never stopped. To improve the efficiency of light bulbs, people invented the fluorescent lamp, a low-pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamp that uses fluorescence to produce visible light.

The invention of the fluorescent lamp started with Alexandre E. Becquerel, who observed that a substance emitted light when it was placed in a Geissler tube in 1859. This phenomenon is called fluorescence. In 1901, Peter Cooper Hewitt invented and patented the mercury-vapor lamp, which is considered the precursor of the fluorescent lamp. However, using mercury vapor produced a greenish light. Later on, Jacques Risler introduced a fluorescent material to coat the lamp in 1929, which turned the chromatic light into white.

A fluorescent lamp is more efficient in converting electricity into light. The typical luminous efficacy of fluorescent lighting systems is 50–100 lumens per watt, several times the efficacy of incandescent bulbs. Therefore, fluorescent lamps are also called energy-saving lamp. Fluorescent lamps for outdoor street lighting were first introduced for commercial use at the 1939 World’s Fair.

However, the development prospects of fluorescent lamps are not good. They fell out of favor for street lighting because they 1) are large; 2) produce a diffused non-directional light; and 3) are fragile. In addition, some fluorescent lamps are classified as hazardous waste due to the presence of substances such as mercury. Therefore, in some areas, fluorescent street lights have been recalled by the government.

LED Lamp

Technology always leads to progress. An LED lamp is a type of solid-state lighting which uses a semiconductor to convert electricity into light. It is often small in area (less than 1 square millimeter) and emits light in a specific direction, thus reduces the need for reflectors and diffusers that can trap light.

So far, the most promising lights for the 21st century are considered to be LEDs. LED lights, the youngest brother of all the lamps we have talked above, are undoubtedly the best lights compared to the aforementioned traditional lamps. They can save six to seven times the energy, cut energy use by more than 80 percent, and can last more than 25 times longer than conventional incandescent lights.

At present, LEDs are specially used for solar lights. The combination of the most advanced lamp and the most environment-friendly energy makes solar LED lights the best choice for city’s streetlight construction.

solar street lights

Cost Effectiveness: Traditional Street Lights VS. Solar Energy Lights

solar street lights

When thinking about solar energy, what comes to mind first?


It can’t be denied that, in an era of such energy scarcity, solar power will become a hot commodity of the future. In the city planning process, it is necessary to consider the efficient use of energy, which accounts for why more and more cities in the United States are starting to launch solar outdoor lighting projects.

Solar street lights have a huge advantage over traditional street lights. But when city planners choose streetlights, the main reason that stops them from choosing solar powered light is the high price. People take it for granted that the price of solar products is higher than that of ordinary products. But is that really the case? Let’s compare the cost effectiveness of ordinary street lights and solar street lights.

Purchase Cost

Generally speaking, in the purchase process, we look at price first. From this point of view, solar street lights do not have much of an advantage, because the price is usually twice that of traditional street lights. Due to the capital investment in scientific research and the manufacturing of special materials, the high price of solar street lamps is understandable. However, the purchase price alone cannot be the only means by which to measure the cost effectiveness of solar street lights, and we need to consider the costs incurred in other aspects of the purchase process.

Installation Cost

Installing traditional street lights cost a lot, especially for areas with insufficient electrical infrastructure, such as remote areas or disaster areas. This is because traditional street lights require cabling and trenching to connect to grid lines. In contrast, solar street lights are off-grid, making them much simpler to install.

Operation Cost

The biggest difference between traditional street lights and solar street lights is the energy source. Traditional street lights are powered by electricity (limited and costly), while solar street lights rely on solar power (sustainable and free). City streetlight projects usually require a large number of street lights. And the increased electricity usage adds up fast when using traditional street lights. Therefore, solar powered street lights have the advantage in operational costs.

Maintenance Cost

Maintenance costs must be considered in the planning and construction of urban street lights. Traditional street lights use sodium bulbs, which have a lifespan of about only 5 years. In addition, traditional light bulbs and some electric wires also require frequent maintenance due to thunderstorms or other extreme weather. Solar street lights are far superior in durability to traditional street lights. While they do require eventual battery replacement—the battery has a lifespan of about 5-7 years.

In conclusion, the installation cost, operation cost, and maintenance cost of traditional street lights per unit ranges from $7,000-8,000 over a 10 year period, while solar street light cost is estimated at $3,500-5,000 over the same period of time. The extra costs associated with traditional street lights make their advantage of lower purchase price disappear.

After comparing the cost effectiveness of traditional street lights and solar street lights, you can now choose solar street lights with confidence. In fact, the savings are just one small benefit of solar street lights. The greatest benefit is that your city will start to use NEW, GREEN and SUSTAINABLE lighting.

Solar Powered Homes

What If Solar Powered Homes Were the Norm?

Solar Powered Homes

Solar Powered Homes & California’s New Build Home Legislation

Here at Greenshine New Energy we are big fans of all things solar, after all it’s great for the environment, saves energy and lowers energy costs.

With the recent legislation passed in California requiring every new build home to have solar power which will take effect in the next two years, we wondered what would the impact of this be if every state adopted this legislation?

To answer this question we looked at new build home data and calculated the average new build house size and amount of solar panels able to fit on its roof to determine power generation capabilities for each major city. We then looked at the average electricity rates and use by city to determine potential electricity bill savings.

Average solar power capability for a new construction home in the US

The average new build home in America could fit a total of 18 solar panels on its roof. With four hours of sunlight a day and each solar panel being able to generate 250 watts each, this would generate 18 kWh of electricity per day, 540 kWh per month and 6,570 kWh per year.

Cities with the highest solar power capability based on the number of new construction homes per year

Throughout America, Houston is the city that would benefit the most from California’s legislation requiring all new build homes to have solar panels installed. Houston has the highest amount of new build homes with 17,881 built in 2018 so far and these homes could fit a whopping 321,858 solar panels generating over 9 million kilowatt hours of energy per month resulting in monthly electricity bill savings of over $1million for the city.

Other cities saving big include Dallas with savings of $905k, Atlanta with over $723k, Phoenix with over $624k, and Austin with just under $396k.

Cities with the lowest solar power capability based on the number of new construction homes per year

Hartford is the city that would benefit the least from California’s legislation requiring all new build homes to have solar panels installed. Hartford is building the least amount of  new build homes with only 285 built in 2018 so far. With such a small number of homes built the Hartford would see monthly savings of $19k with 5,130 solar panels producing 153,900kwh per month.

Other cities with small monthly electricity bill savings from new build solar panels include Buffalo with savings of $23k, Rochester with $24k, Pittsburgh with $26k, and Grand Rapids with $55k.

Projected California solar panel use and power generation if law was passed now

With the new California legislation coming online in 2020 we wondered what the impact would be on California if it was in place since the start of the year. California to date has built 16,698 new homes and these homes could fit over 300k solar panels  generate 162 million kWh for the state.

US cities with the highest electricity bills + their potential savings from solar panels

When we look at the cities with the highest electricity bills, Birmingham leads the way with an average monthly bill of $140.46. Jacksonville follows closely behind with a monthly bill of $139.25 and New York City with a monthly bill of $136.85.

US cities that could save the most from solar panel use

Looking at cities across America which could save the most on their electricity bills with solar panel installation on new build homes, New York City tops the list with a gigantic monthly saving of over 90% dropping their average household electricity bill from $136.85 to $12.65.

Sacramento homes, whilst not having the highest amount savings throughout the US, would see their monthly electricity bill become nearly $0 with a monthly bill of $0.89, thats a 98% saving!With such tangible savings, hopefully in the near future we’ll see multiple cities adopting this new legislation and solar power become a mainstay in cities from new houses to streetlamps.

Different Types of Commercial Outdoor Lighting


Different Types of Commercial Outdoor Lighting

Do you have a specific aim when choosing outdoor lighting? Can you tell the difference between canopy lighting, LED pole lighting, and other types of lighting? What are the applications of different types of lighting? If your answer continues to be “No”, it’s a good idea to continue reading this article.

Canopy Lighting

Canopy lighting fixtures are best for many types of facilities with outdoor overhanging canopies, such as gas stations and parking lots. Both the brightness and color of the light can be customized by changing the location and the height of the canopy, providing sufficient lighting for many different types of spaces.

LED Pole Lights

LED pole lights are another type of light that are widely used in outdoor areas of commercial facilities. They are usually used as street lights in parking lots and residential areas to provide lighting for both drivers and pedestrians.

Low Ceiling Lights

As the name suggests, these lights are ideal for facilities with low-hanging ceilings, for instance, parking garages. Low ceiling lights are also customizable to meet the different needs of specific applications.

Flood Lights

Flood lights are one of the most popular type of lights that are used outdoors. They can provide broad-beam and high-intensity light and are frequently used for sports fields such as stadiums and race tracks. Smaller flood lights can be used to provide lighting for warehouse exteriors or other smaller areas.

How to Choose

When you are looking for outdoor lighting for a parking lot, street, pathway, park, or other application, it’s important to make sure you get the right type of commercial outdoor lighting. If your still not sure what the right choice is for you, you can leave a message with us or get a free lighting simulation for your project here. Our engineers and lighting experts are available to help you with your specific case.