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?

NEW? GREEN? SUSTAINABLE?

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.