solar lighting, parking light

Solar Lights for Parking Lots: The Design Basics You Need to Know

There are a few basic design principles of solar parking lot lights. To gain deeper insight into a cost-effective solar PV system design, here’s what you need to know.

What is Solar PV System?

Solar PV system uses photovoltaics (PV) to transform sunlight into electricity. Solar-powered photovoltaic panels, also called modules, contain photovoltaic cells. These cells convert incoming sunlight into electricity that can either stored for later use or directly supply a home or a business with renewable energy.

Solar energy is a clean and reliable source of electricity that has a vast range of applications. With its high rate of return, solar is considered a great investment opportunity and is now being embraced by many industries across the board.

Components of Solar Outdoor Lights

Depending on the system type, application, and site location, a solar-powered system consists of different parts. The main components are solar PV panel, LED light, solar charge controller, inverter, battery, and pole.

  • Solar PV panel consists of photovoltaic cells that are wired together and convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity.
  • Solar charge controller regulates the voltage and current that is coming from the solar panel. It uses the panel to charge the battery, keeps it from overcharging and prolongs the battery’s life span.
  • Batteries store the energy that can later be used to supply lights and various electrical appliances when there is a demand.
  • LED light provides high-quality illumination using energy produced by solar panels.

Power Consumption of Your Solar System

When designing a solar parking lot lights system, it is important to calculate the total power and energy consumption of LED lighting. To find out the total consumption of your solar system, you should calculate total watt-hours per day for each part that will need to be supplied with solar power.

Tip: When making this calculation, you should also take into consideration the energy lost in the system for the most accurate results.

The Size of the Solar Panel

The number and size of the solar panels are important for the optimal performance for solar parking lot lights. They come in different sizes and types, each outputting a different amount of power.

To find out the right sizing of your solar panel, you should calculate the total peak watt needs. The peak watt (Wp) produced will depend on the size of the PV panel and climate of parking lot location.

You should calculate the total Wp rating needed for solar PV panels and number of solar panels required for the system so you will get the minimum number of solar panels for your parking lot.

The Best Solar Lights for Parking Lots

Solar-powered LED lights are an energy efficient and reliable solution for solar parking lot lights. To get the most accurate and cost-effective system, you should seek assistance from professionals. Choose a reliable company with a vast experience in developing and manufacturing solar outdoor lighting solutions.

solar lighting, greenshine, solar panels

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Over the last 10 years, the rapid growth of the solar industry has demanded attention. Large agencies such as Tesla and the European Union are embracing solar as the wave of the future. From solar panels on rooftops to solar street lights, the solar is now a major player on the world stage.

With all this talk about solar, have you ever wondered how a solar panel actually worked? Here’s a little introduction on what solar panels are and how they work.

The Basics

Depending on the system type, application, and site location, a solar-powered system consists of different parts. The main components are solar PV panel, LED light, solar charge controller, inverter, battery, and pole.

  • Solar PV panel consists of photovoltaic cells that are wired together and convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity.
  • Solar charge controller regulates the voltage and current that is coming from the solar panel. It uses the panel to charge the battery, keeps it from overcharging and prolongs the battery’s life span.
  • Batteries store the energy that can later be used to supply lights and various electrical appliances when there is a demand.
  • LED light provides high-quality illumination using energy produced by solar panels.

What are Solar Panels Made Of?

Solar panels are one of the main components of a solar outdoor lighting system. While there are several types of solar cells, typically that are comprised of multiple small grouped units called photovoltaic (PV) cells.  These cells are made of two layers of semiconductor material typically comprised of silicon crystals.

Because silicon is a poor conductor of electricity, the bottom layer of photovoltaic cells is doped with boron, which facilitates a positive charge (P). On the other hand, the top layer is doped with phosphorus, adding electrons with a negative charge (N). Electron movement between the two layers with opposite charges produces an electric field.

Most PV systems are based on individual square cells that produce very little power, which is why they are linked together as panels or modules. During solar panels installation, solar panels can be used individually or wired together into larger solar arrays to produce the desired electrical output.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar PV system uses photovoltaics (PV) to transform sunlight into electricity. Solar-powered photovoltaic panels, also called modules, contain photovoltaic cells. These cells convert incoming sunlight into electricity that can either stored for later use or directly supply a home or a business with renewable energy.

Solar energy is a clean and reliable source of electricity that has a vast range of applications. With its high rate of return, solar is considered a great investment opportunity and is now being embraced by many industries across the board.

PV cells convert sunlight into electricity. When particles of light called photons hit the surface of a solar cell, they knock electrons loose from their atoms. When positive and negative charges are separated, an electric field occurs.

As electrons flow through an electrical circuit from one layer to another, they generate a flow of electricity. After the panels convert the energy to direct current (DC) electricity, an inverter converts it into alternating current (AC) electricity.

Alternating current is the type of electricity that consumers use when they plug their appliances into a wall socket. Only after it is converted to AC, electricity can be delivered to a business or a residence.

Solar panels and Outdoor Lighting

With modern technology, large corporations and municipalities are embracing solar and are investing in this growing infrastructure. Photovoltaic cells require no maintenance, produce no greenhouse gas emissions, and are environmentally friendly. They are also easy to manage as they turn off and on automatically. Solar panels provide enough electricity both on sunny and cloudy days, and charge the batteries that can later power your residential or commercial solar lights during the night. With current technology, most solar systems use LED lighting as opposed to commercial for the advantages in technology.

Need Assistance?

Greenshine New Energy LLC. has more than a decade of experience in developing and manufacturing solar-powered lighting solutions for different lighting applications. As a renowned company with a team of skilled and experienced engineers, we can assist you with designing and integration of our high-quality products, such as street lighting, park lighting, pathway lighting, parking lot lighting, etc.

solar lighting, greenshine

A Beginner’s Guide to Solar Panel Installation

Solar energy is a renewable and inexhaustible resource. It converts sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic solar panels. Many people are adopting solar as a cost efficient and reliable source of energy. Are you considering installing solar panels, but don’t know where to start? Here’s our little guide to help you install a solar powered system.

The Solar Panel

A solar panel has 4 main components:

  • A photovoltaic panel to install directly in a frame on the tiles or into the roof replacement coverage.
  • Wires to carry the electricity. They have an anti-UV treatment.
  • An inverter to convert the DC high performance current delivered by the low voltage panels alternating current. .
  • A electricity meter to measure the energy produced by the user.

Initial Inspection

First, analyze how you are currently using electricity. Take a deeper look into your electricity bill to find how you allocate your electricity bill in the house. Then, you should decide whether or not your solar panel should cover the use of energy of your entire house or only a part of it. After checking these points, you will be able to determine the most suitable for your need.

Tip: Unplug your devices! Did you know that even if you turned off your electric appliances they still consume electricity? They will stay active unless you plug them out, so your electricity bill will be higher than what you should be paying.

Roof Inspection

After you checked your power consumption, analyze your roof’s measurement to validate the type of solar panel you can install there. Because of your roof specific size, you should be careful on the solar panel’s dimension and its output to maximizing the space on your roof.

Solar Panel Installation

Hire a professional. They are certified and know all the intricacies of the installation. Make sure that the roof, ground mounting, or tracking system you are using is engineer certified for the area you are in. For example, if you live in an area with high climate variability, the mounting system and mounting brackets also need to be sufficiently weather resistant.

Solar Inverter Efficiency

The power inverter is a box installed between the panels and your appliances that converts the generated DC to AC, which is suitable for use in your home. Their efficiency will have a direct impact on the payback time of your system, so look at the inverter efficiency before purchasing a system.

Prices Benchmark

Price is always an important factor when you want to buy a product. Quality-price ratio is an important element to include in your equation. The average price of a solar panel installation is typically $7-9 per watt. So, a 5 kW system would cost around $25,000-$30,000.

Many utility companies offer incentives to for solar panel installation, so look for price reductions or subsidizes available for your home.

Warranty Length

Be careful of the solar panel’s warranty length. Try to aim between 5-10 years, as it will cover all the short term issues you may encounter.

solar lights

Commercial Solar Lights or Low Voltage?

If you are looking for alternatives for standard lighting on your commercial property, most contractors will offer you the choice between low voltage lights and commercial solar lights. If you are wondering what the difference is, and which one is better for your needs, here is a handy comparison of the two.

Commercial solar lights

Solar lights require no cables or access to the electrical grid, since they come with their own power generating solar panel, as well as batteries to store the energy collected during the day. Another advantage of solar lights to regular ones is the ease of installation. Once you have decided where you want to put them, you just do it, with no hassle around electrical installations. Similarly, if you want to move or remove them, the process is as easy as picking them up and moving them to the desired location. Commercial solar lights are now available in a variety of shapes, forms and sizes for a myriad of applications. The downside of solar lights is that they require the sun to function properly, meaning that the site you pick for your solar lighting fixture needs to be exposed to direct sunlight in order to charge the battery.

Low voltage

Low voltage lights are not much different from regular lights. The key difference is that regular lights work on the standard grid voltage of 110-120 volts, whereas low voltage ones work on just 12 volts. This is made possible through technological advancements over the recent years. Incandescent lights require high voltage since the majority of energy used for them is wasted on heat. Low voltage lights use more advanced technologies which enable better energy management and less waste. However, since your house is powered via an electrical grid of 110-120 volts, installing low voltage lights does mean installing a transformer as well as special cables and light fixtures.

Installation

As mentioned before, solar lighting is a lot simpler to install. It does not depend on any external power grid and requires no further installation after it has been set up. The only concern you have is that your solar panel gets plenty of sunlight during the day. Low voltage lighting, on the other side does require all of the above. You will need to have constant access to the grid, as well as dig through the area you are lighting to put cables in. Furthermore, the transformer will also need to be installed. So, if you are looking to make as little change to the scenery as possible, solar lights seem as a better option.

Maintenance

There is not much maintenance involved in any of the two systems. Apart from changing the light bulbs once they break down (which is rare for both systems) and occasional cleaning to keep the light output to the maximum, there isn’t much that needs to be done. The solar panel also needs to be kept clean to ensure the best sunlight absorption and longer battery life.

Which is better?

There is no single answer to this question. What you need to do is carefully measure your needs, your budget and the expected results. There are three key reasons people put on landscape light: security, ease of movement, and decoration. If you are looking for something that requires less maintenance that easily connects to the main power grid, choose low voltage. If you are looking for a long-term solution that will save you long-term costs while also does not detract from the natural environment, choose solar. Either way, contact Greenshine for a consultation on your energy needs.

Useful Tips for Landscape Pathway Lighting

Pathway lighting - landscaping tipsNo landscaping venture is complete without decorative pathway lighting. If you are planning on modeling your backyard or any similar project, you might want to consider installing solar pathway lights as a cost-effective and beautiful solution for your lighting needs. Here are some tricks and tips you might appreciate before you actually install these.

Spacing Your Pathway Lighting

The most common use of solar landscape lights is pathway lighting. Prior to installing your solar lights, you need to make sure that the place you intend to put solar lights gets plenty of direct sunlight. Then, set the distance between two solar lights as it is up to you to decide whether you want the path to be brightly illuminated (recommended for difficult terrain), or if you want to use solar lights only as accent lights.

Panel Angling

Typical landscape lights are known as bollards. These have the solar panel on the top of the fixture and LED lights just below it. When you are installing these light fixtures, you need to make sure that your solar panel gets as much direct sunlight as possible, so you will have to consider the angle at which to put your light fixture. This can vary depending on your geographic location as it affects the time and intensity of light on your property. If needed, use a solar lighting companies for the best advice.

Mind the Sensors

The majority of contemporary solar lights are turned on or off automatically by measuring the surrounding light levels. You need to be careful not to place solar lights too close to any other source of artificial light. This includes street, garage, and porch lights. If it detects the light coming from another source, the solar light will not activate. If your solar light is not functioning properly, check whether that is the problem before you contact the maintenance company to check it out.

Cleaning and Storing Solar Lights

When storing solar lights, you need to follow some basic rules. The most important one is keeping them dry, since electronics and batteries do not react well to moisture. Do not to keep them in darkness. If they cannot recharge and discharge, the batteries tend to lose the ability to hold charge. As for cleaning them, the most important part to keep clean is the panel itself. You want to keep the debris off of it as much as possible in order to ensure the best possible performance. A dry cloth and some soapy water will do the trick.

Solar lights are often mentioned as a great alternative for parking lots and industrial complexes, but they are also used for these smaller and more creative applications. Greenshine offers a wide selection of solar lights including decorative, commercial and industrial solar lights. Contact us today to discuss your project today.

Electrical Delivery Systems

Electricity - Industrial Solar Lighting CompanyPower lines. We see them everyday, yet we never notice them. From our homes to our offices, this complicated electrical delivery systems is one of many that provide us with the essential energy we need everyday to survive.

Most of our electricity comes from a centralized system, or an electricity grid. The electricity production starts with the power plants. The USA currently uses a wide variety of energy sources for electricity production including nuclear, hydro-electric, coal and natural gas power plants. As a recent trend, there are renewable energy plants as well, running on wind, solar and biomass energy. Sadly, over 65% of our energy total came from burning fossil fuels, further damaging our planet.

The majority of the infrastructure for electricity production is power lines which transport electricity from the power plant to the consumers. Low voltage electricity is upped by a power plant transformer from 3-30 kV to 110-750 kV. This increase in power causes a loss of about 1-6% of energy through heat loss.

Once the electricity reaches the consumers, it is incredibly dangerous, as the voltage is significantly higher than that used by the consumers. The intermediary between the high voltage transmission lines and the consumers are the substations. They take in the high voltage electricity and convert into more manageable voltages for further transportation. The transformers inside these substations can convert electricity to different power levels, depending on the needs. Distribution substations change the voltage back to the 3-30kV range which can be used by the consumers. The electricity can be delivered overhead, using electrical posts, or underground, which is more common in big cities. This model of the electrical grid is used by almost all electricity-powered facilities.

However, in recent years, there have been some small changes. There are people who install solar panels or other means of electricity production in order to reduce their dependency on the power grid. One reason to do this is the concern for the environment. By not contributing to the consumption of electricity from the power grid, people are helping reduce our carbon footprint.

Another significant reason to use solar power is the cost. Once you install the solar panels, you are the owner of the means of electricity production. That translates into no more electricity bills. If you install industrial solar lighting on your commercial facility, the only cost you have is the initial investment and regular maintenance. When you factor in how much electricity lighting actually costs per month, this new model starts to sound quite appealing.

5 Big Electricity Spenders in Your Home

Cutting down bills - Solar pathway lighting company Do you keep your TV running all day? Are your lights on at all times of the day? Turn them off. There are some appliances that spend a lot of electricity and should probably be turned off when not actively used. Electricity in the USA is produced from a variety of sources, but the majority of it (around 65%) comes from burning fossil fuels. So by using electricity irresponsibly, we are promoting more fossil fuels being burned. Another important factor is the cost. If you can reduce your electricity bill by just knowing a few tricks, would you do it? Here are several household appliances that spend the most in your home.

Continue reading “5 Big Electricity Spenders in Your Home”

The Sun Belt and Solar

Sun and Solar Panels - Solar StreetlightThe Sun Belt is a term used in the United States to denote the area of the country located roughly under the 36th parallel. It is the part of the country which gets the most sun and with the hottest climate, as it covers the entirety of the southern border.

The unifying aspect of the climate is that the area experiences long, hot summers and mild winters. However, since this is a large area, covering parts or the entirety of 15 states, there is also a large variation in specific conditions. For example, states of Nevada, Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas are at least in part deserts. On the other hand, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and both Carolinas experience subtropical, while Florida belongs to the tropical climate zone.

This particular position has had great benefits for the states. In fact, the greatest part of the estimated growth of the US economy is estimated to be centered in this area. This area of the US also has some of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston and Miami.

In short, solar power is a very viable option for cities and towns in the Sun Belt, since the days are long, the nights are short, and most areas have the luxury of  warm, sunny days. The enormous growth of solar power, both in private and industrial industries, proves the growing investment.

Areas outside the Sun Belt are also viable candidates for solar energy. In fact, even if you move away from the sunny south, the effectiveness of the solar panels stays in tact.

The drawback of traditional solar panels is that they can only be effective during the day. In order to sustain a 100 Watt power draw through the night, you would need up to 800 Watt of solar power, which is double of what you would need in the Sun Belt.

The great thing about solar power is that it is highly customizable, increasing your solar street lights ROI. The technology in this field is constantly improving, and the prices per unit are dropping, which means you can expect to see the return on your investment much faster. If it is correctly managed and calculated, solar power can do wonders for you and your community.

solar lights

Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter?

Unless you are from sunny California or one of its neighboring southern states, you have probably wondered if solar panels work in the winter. Good news- solar panels work in the winter since they are still powered by light. They will continue to produce energy if the sun is out even if there 6 inches of snow on the ground.

Solar panels are active in most kinds of weather, concluding that energy is produced by solar panels in winter. However, the amount of electricity produced on cloudy days is reduced if there is less light, producing only about a quarter of the maximum expected amount.

In the conditions of light snow, the effect on the electrical output of the panels should be minimal. Small amounts of snow can slide off fairly easily from their smooth surface. Even if a thin layer of snow sits on the surface, fully covered panels will still produce some electricity since sunlight can still penetrate the panels in a thin layer of snow.  On the other hand, heavy snowfall can have a more detrimental effect on the solar panels in winter and electricity production. Simply put, snow is heavy. If a lot of it falls on a panel, the sheer weight of it can damage the panel and cause malfunctions. On fixtures without frames, snow usually slides off without much problem, so it never accumulates and has little effect on the panel.

Contrary to popular belief, snow actually helps solar panels. Think to your windshield in a snowstorm. Once the snow is removed, your windshield is left squeaky clean because any dirt that was previously on the surface is now wiped clean. The exact same thing happens with solar panels–once the snow melts or falls off the panel, it leaves it very clean, and cleaner panels absorb more sunlight.

When evaluating your solar needs, the best approach would be to calculate how much sun you can expect over the course of the year, or ask a solar lighting expert to get more information about solar in the winter to see if solar is right for you.