what are the best batteries for solar street lights

What’s the Best Battery for Solar Street Lights?

what are the best batteries for solar street lights

One aspect of switching to solar street lighting that’s always of unease for new solar adopters is the type of battery used to power the light. Many of our customers want to get the best battery for their new solar light that saves money, lasts as long as possible and requires the least amount of maintenance.

There are also questions of the physical battery profile, average charging cycles, and overall cost per watt. Some of the tech jargon can get a little confusing, but it’s important to remember all batteries are not created equal.

Here’s some information below which goes into detail why Greenshine uses some battery technologies over others. We’ve saved the best for last.

Here’s the Types of Batteries on the Market–and the Best for Solar Lighting

NiCd Not a Prime Choice for Solar Lights

NiCd (Nickel Cadmium) batteries are not one of the best battery choices on the market for use in solar lights. There’s a debate in the “battery community” about what’s called the “memory effect” with NiCd–these kinds of batteries are meant to be charged fully and depleted fully.

That isn’t what happens often with batteries meant for solar lights, where there’s a constant charge-discharge with the cycles of day and night. The memory effect alters the battery’s voltage levels to shrink over time, where the battery “forgets” the highs and lows it doesn’t often charge to.

Plus, cadmium is a highly toxic metal which defeats one of the purposes of solar lights–to reduce the environmental impact that the use of energy may have. We know most project managers just prefer something that saves money over time, but why not go both routes? 

NiMH Closer, but Still No Cigar

NiMH (Nickel Metal-Hydride) technology is a better choice over NiCd batteries when it comes to the environment, but there are still some pain points with this selection. There’s a lot of maintenance required with NiMH batteries because they need a full discharge from time to time–we’re sure someone doesn’t want to get the task of discharging every battery in a solar parking lot light configuration.

Plus, these batteries tend to generate heat! Not a desired side-effect in the middle of a park on a hot summer day. These batteries typically degrade in elevated temperatures. Still not the best battery solution for solar street lights.

You Might Think Li-Ion Batteries are Best, But…

Think again. Li-Ion (Lithium Ion) batteries, most commonly found in small electronics like cell phones, are actually more dangerous for solar lighting because they need a protection circuit. We doubt park management would desire large hazards to power their public lights.

Plus, the battery size required for solar light applications isn’t wallet-friendly! They’re costly to manufacture, which defeats the purpose of solar–not much of a point to switching to inexpensive solar if the battery is expensive.

These batteries can withstand only about a thousand recharges, only lasting for about three years. There are better battery choices for solar street lights.

How Does Lithium Polymer Fare?

Lithium Polymer batteries are best used in small electronics like their Li-Ion brethren. They’re often mass-produced for cost and are advantageous in small spaces, like the back of a cell phone. However, they have low energy density and a decreased cycle count, prompting more purchases over time. Plus, with a steep price tag for manufacturing, the cost over time to replace batteries doesn’t justify their use for solar.

And a Lead Acid Deep Cycle Gel Battery?

Last on our list, the lead-acid battery is actually best for solar! Here’s why: they’re incredibly cheap for their cost-per-watt hours which reduces the price for solar power significantly. Lead-acid is a well-understood, reliable technology that requires very low maintenance. Plus, it has a very low self-discharge rate and it works best with partial discharges, not full ones.

When it comes to solar lighting, a deep-cycle lead-acid battery is the best available on the market. It’s cost-effective, doesn’t require much maintenance, doesn’t need a full discharge from time to time, and almost has a set-it-and-forget-it technology. They’re the kind of batteries we use in every solar light. It’s just a part of why Greenshine New Energy is proud to be a leader in solar technology.

We’ve done the homework; we just need your approval to move forward. Contact us to learn more.

THE 2019 GREENSHINE NEW ENERGY $1,000 COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST WINNER

Congratulations to the 2019 Greenshine New Energy $1,000 College Scholarship Contest winner:

 

Lawson Smith, a student of the University of Georgia!

Entrants were asked to write an essay expressing how they think green energy technology will change in the next 30 years and what the impact on our lives will be.

We received many, many submissions from students in the U.S. and after much deliberation, we felt that Lawson’s essay was exemplary. There were so many other fantastic essays, but our team had to choose just one. We’ve published it here with his permission.

Thank you to all that submitted essays. Try again next year!

Lawson’s essay for the Greenshine Solar Street Light Contest:

The climate strikes during September of this year were extremely moving for me as an advocate of renewable energy. As I stood hand in hand with hundreds of my peers, I was extremely proud to be a part of a movement that provides hope for the future. I find myself in the unique position as a current college student to be part of a generation that has a chance to make a meaningful impact on the way energy is produced. As I continue to learn every day about the negative consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels, it is my hope and expectation that within the next 30 years renewable energy sources will be integrated into every phase of energy production.
We are all familiar with the effects of carbon emissions on climate change. An estimated 5,268 million metric tons of CO2 emissions can be directly linked to the energy industry, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association, which can have disastrous climate implications moving forward. However, many people fail to see the benefits that will directly impact the lives of everyday citizens. As a business major, I often encounter obstacles in discussing climate change with my peers, because the majority of the discourse today is entrenched in the massive idea of climate change, which can be a bit overwhelming. I find that green energy can be appealing even to the most skeptical climate change deniers when I appeal to the smaller-scaler, everyday problems people face such unemployment, utility expenses, and health. In discussing energy reform on these terms, I am confident that within the next decade there will be overwhelming support for clean energy productions.
The renewable energy sector is much more labor-intensive than the highly automated fossil fuel industry. As such, with the shift toward renewable energy that will take place within the next 30 years, more people will be able to find full-time, good-paying jobs. According to the National Solar Jobs Census, solar energy alone was responsible for 260,000 jobs in 2016, over 100,000 more than the coal industry, which has a much larger market share in the energy field. As renewable energy continues to gain market share over the coming decades, these employment discrepancies will continue to grow, and along with it will emerge a new middle class. People will have more money to spend and the economy will boom.
One major concern surrounding the switch to renewable energy is the misconception that it will be a lot more expensive than traditional forms of energy production. While it is true that renewable energy is costly on the front-end, just as with any major overhaul, the costs are offset by the savings earned down the road. The costs to produce green energy have dropped anywhere from 11 percent to 26 percent depending on the method, which now puts it in the same price range as oil and gas, costing around $0.05/kWh to $0.015/kWh according to Forbes. This decline has been a constant trend, and within the next few years, renewable energy will undoubtedly be cheaper to produce, which in combination with its increased price stability, as opposed to volatile fossil fuels, will easily offset the cost of implementation. Consumers will see these cost reductions on their energy bills, which will free up even more money for them to put back into the growing economy.
Yet another major benefit that will arise from the renewable energy revolution in the next 30 years will be an increase in public health. With life expectancy rates dropping for the first time in United States history, it is important to attack this problem from all angles, and energy production is a surprisingly significant factor. One Harvard study found that a combination of heart disease, neurological disorders, and cancer caused by coal consumption cumulates to cost an estimated $74.6 billion annually. The elimination of fossil fuels like coal and implementation of green energy will not only eliminate those harmful conditions but as a result, it will also lower health insurance prices, leaving even more money in the pockets of working families.
In addition to the overwhelming scientific evidence that energy production rooted in nonrenewable resources is killing our environment, they also keep everyday consumers from getting the added economic advantage of renewable energy. Not only will green energy save our economy in the next two decades by saving the climate, but it will also put money directly into the pockets of consumers and cause the market to flourish. I am so excited to be a part of this energy revolution, and cannot wait to see the world I am confident will exist in 30 years.

Congratulations Lawson!

how to save money on lighting

How to Save Money on Lighting for a Business (Hint: Use Solar)

how to save money on lighting

A recent beer brewery in our town had to shut its doors much to the dismay of several brewery fanatics. The bills surmounted and prices had to go up for the brewery, unfortunately, driving away some customers. Ends just couldn’t meet, and that’s the unfortunate situation for a lot of businesses. But the good news is that we have some secrets for businesses: we’ve got details on how to save money on lighting, and not just trivial sums of it either! How? Through the use of solar lighting. This 5-minute read lays it all out for business owners that need to trim the expenses. Believe it or not, lighting is heavily expensive! We’re here to help businesses succeed through reducing lighting bills. Read further to discover the treasure that solar lights hold.

Here’s How to Save Money on External Lighting

Determine What the Project Needs

If your business doesn’t have a previous building (ie you’re starting from an empty lot), some decisions are a little easier. To install lighting for parking lots, you’ll still need to trench and wire to connect each light. This is where lighting tends to be extremely expensive. Depending on the size of your lot, trenching and wiring fees can cost several thousands of dollars.

If the lot in question is already built, installation for traditional lighting would be even more difficult since you’d need to break into the concrete, trench for power, and then repave–that can tack on an even higher bill. So no matter what the situation is–whether it’s a new lot to pave over or an existing lot–solar lights are still perfect for the job. It’s more of a question of how many lights you’d need for full coverage and the type of light fixture. The most common for parking lots is a Type III, a very triangular light fixture that provides a lot of coverage.

Reduced Lighting Bills

“Zero” has a lovely ring to it

You’re probably already aware, but solar lights use the cleanest energy available: it’s from the sun! These lights don’t draw from fossil fuels or local utility companies, so your energy bills for your lights drop to zero. Solar is a fantastic way to save money on lighting since there’s no monthly energy bill to fork over.

Other Ways to Save Money

Got a sign you need lit? Yep, we’ve got a solution for that too! If you’re in need of a solar light for signs, we couple bright LED fixtures with monocrystalline silicon panels for highly efficient lighting solutions. When it’s dark out, customers and commuters can see your sign with ease. Each sign light is self-contained and can be customized to fit whatever size or shape your sign is.

 

Here at Greenshine New Energy, we’re proud to deliver a lighting solution that combines green energy efforts, reduced bills, highly-efficient components, and an overall lower cost than traditional lighting. We have a combined 30 years of solar knowledge excellence under one roof in Lake Forest, California. If you’re curious about how to save money with lighting, contact us and we’ll be in touch. Thanks for reading!

Apply to the Greenshine New Energy Scholarship Contest for 2019!

Want a Thousand Dollars for College? Apply to the Greenshine New Energy Scholarship for 2019!

Apply to the Greenshine New Energy Scholarship Contest for 2019!

If you are currently enrolled in college (or headed there in 2019!) and want to win a $1000 scholarship to help cover expenses, enter the the Greenshine New Energy Scholarship .

Greenshine New Energy will award a $1000 scholarship to one highly motivated student who can thoughtfully respond to the prompt below.

Who We Are:

Greenshine New Energy specializes in providing solar street lighting solutions around the country. Using new technology and the highest grade material, our solar lighting systems are perfectly suited for a wide array of outdoor solar lighting applications to serve any community or business.

How It Works:

Please tell us in 1000 words or less how you think green energy technology will change in the next 30 years and what the impact on our lives will be.

Here’s How to Win:

  • Answer the prompt above in 1000 words or less.
  • Fill out the form below, including a link to a Google Doc answering the prompt above. Ensure your Google Docs file is saved in the format (your-name)-(dob)-2019 Greenshine New Energy $1000 College Scholarship Submission.
  • We will pick a winner on October 31, 2019 and notify you*
  • A member of the Greenshine New Energy team will  team will email you to confirm your mailing address and send you a check or Visa gift card in the mail for $1000
  • We will announce the winners on the Greenshine New Energy blog.

To Be Eligible:

  • All submissions must be received by midnight on October 29th 2019.
  • You must be a graduating senior in high school or a freshman, sophomore, or junior in college or trade school and at least 16 years of age in the US Territories.
  • We reserve the right to verify the date of your high school graduation and/or college enrollment.
  • Each entrant affirms that they have met all eligibility requirements and releases their entry to be used for any purpose by Greenshine New Energy.
  • Any and all submissions may be used in future Greenshine New Energy marketing.

*Disclaimer: Greenshine New Energy respects your privacy and will not share any personal information without prior approval from you. We will pick our favorite winners based on the submissions we receive by the deadline listed above.

solar led parking lot lighting

3 Reasons Why Should You Use Solar LED Parking Lights for Your Lot

solar led parking lot lighting

If you’re opening a business with a new foundation for a parking lot, some of the most pedestrian aspects of the business are simultaneously the most important. We’ve recognized the need for several businesses in the past when it comes to proper lighting, so we know the biggest pain points. That’s what we tend to solve, however, with our solar light solutions. What follows are three points for any business owner to consider when it comes to lighting their parking lots. You don’t want to compromise on these.

The Lowdown for Solar LED Parking Lights

LED Lights Provide More Accurate Color Reproduction

First off, solar LED parking lights are argued by many to the best for security. But how? The factor is in proper visibility. If you compare other lights on the market to what you’ll find with LED lights, you’ll find that the color reproduction under different lights (such as high-pressure sodium) isn’t very accurate. LED lights contain a much stronger “true” color reproduction than several other similar lights on the market. It helps during those times you might be lost trying to locate your car, when in reality it’s right by you–it’s just looks different because of the light. We can think of many other applications that are much more serious than a temporary forgetfulness of where you parked your vehicle. In that instance, it’s best to have the highest color reproduction possible.

The Details are in the Bills, Unfortunately

Lighting isn’t cheap, especially when it needs to be bright and expansive. We know several project managers and business owners that have come to us, desperate to drop their energy bills. Others have looked at the potential costs and wondered how they could afford such a high price point–one of our customers had a 90-thousand dollar bill just to install traditional lighting. It just isn’t as practical anymore to trench and connect expensive lights and then pay expensive bills when solar parking lot lighting is superior on the wallet. The average price of electricity in the US is about 12 cents per kWh. A parking lot with traditional lighting needs around 250 incandescent bulbs of 60W each. Let’s assume they work 12 hours a day. So [Bulb Numbers] X [Annual Hours of Operation] X [Utility Rate] X [Watt Reduction in Kilowatts] which totals….$7884. Obviously prices will range, but that’s no pocket change.

That’s specifically why so many project managers are switching to solar LED lamps for their lighting needs. Even without the cost of trenching to connect lighting to a power grid, the money saved on energy bills could be put to much better use–like investing.

Feel Good about Going Green

It’s a fact that we’re running into an energy crisis. The rising cost of energy nationwide points to an eventual higher energy crisis where we’ll have to turn to alternate methods of culling energy in order to sustain our way of living. We don’t know what’s in our future when it comes to energy prices, but we do know how we can address energy issues now!

A lot of project managers’ concerns are just about how much money can be saved by sticking with solar, but a much-welcomed side effect is by taking a “green” stance by using the world’s most abundant source of power–the sun. A clean, virtually endless energy source that requires no burning is the answer to our energy problems in the future. Be a part of the future, now, by switching to solar LED lamps for your public area.

In conclusion, the savings, security, and conservation facts are there. We invite you to take a look into the future and see how solar can revolutionize your parking lot needs. Keep people safe, conserve energy for the future, and invest in something for your business so it can reach new heights. That’s just what we do at Greenshine New Energy. Contact us to learn more.

Solar Panels for LED Lights

What Are the Benefits of Angling Solar Panels Properly?

Solar Panels for LED Lights

New solar panel light adopters may not be entirely up-to-date on how to properly angle new solar panels and why that matters. Of course, it’s ultimately a matter of drawing as much light from the sun as possible, even during overcast times, so we thought we’d introduce a few basics to those who have installed the latest in green energy technology. And for those who haven’t used solar lighting in their latest project, consider this an opportunity to reflect if solar panel outdoor lights are perfect for your needs. We’ll skip the super-tech details and jump straight to the specifics.

How to Properly Angle Solar Panel Outdoor Lights

What’s the Best Angle of Direction for Solar Panels for LED Lights?

We’ll admit that solar isn’t perfect. Sometimes the sun doesn’t come out, and so you’re left wondering how long your lights might last in dark winters or overcast times. Solar power stored in a battery won’t last forever, but what we can promise is that if you angle your solar panels for your LED lights properly, you can maximize your potential power gains–almost like sending your lights to the gym for the most rigorous workout possible.

The trick is with angling your solar panels is that one answer isn’t universal for all. What angle you want with your solar panel outdoor lights is actually dependent on where you live as long as your panels are facing south. For instance, if you live in Southern California, home to Greenshine New Energy, you’re best off angling your panels around 33/34 degrees for maximal energy culling potential. Thankfully, these are solar panels for outdoor lights, so it’s not a matter of having a roof that supports that particular angle. Pointing the panels in any other direction will result in less energy gains–it just doesn’t make sense. Do your research online with some handy solar calculation tools and you can find the best angle for where you (or the panels) reside.

What Else is There to Know About Proper Solar Panel Angling?

Oddly enough, the states that receive the most solar power aren’t the sunniest! The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) rates some “cold” states as higher than California and Arizona! Cold weather does not equate to less light. In fact, white snow often times helps to reflect sunlight back onto the solar panels. The panels function more efficiently during winter, too! During the winter, it’s a strong idea to angle your solar panels for your streetlights lower than your latitude. Just be forewarned that reducing the tilt for the panel may cause build-up of snow, and we’re sure you know what that leads to. Snow is actually easy to remove from solar panels if they’re not angled properly to encourage it to slide off.

Keeping these small maintenance factors in mind can help your solar panel street lights last longer when the sun is hidden behind overcast clouds. If you’re still unsure of what the best angle might be for your panels, or if you’re thinking of finally making the jump to solar powered outdoor lights, feel free to contact us and we’ll be happy to assist. Remember, if you’re in a “cold” state, solar panels actually run more efficient and light tends to bounce around more than usual because of the white surface of the snow. It’s just another reason why solar is really catching on across the world–it can be used almost anywhere.

off grid solar lighting system

3 Advantages of Solar Power vs Grid Power: An In-Depth Look

off grid solar lighting system

 

It’s said that Superman gets his powers from absorbing the energy of the sun. We like to bring that commonality up when discussing differences between solar power versus grid power. Using the world’s largest and virtually unending power source to fuel the world’s lighting is something Greenshine specializes in–apart from sharing similar traits with one of the greatest superheroes of all time. To many, however, the differences may not be clear between these two power sources–grid and solar–so we’re here to inform, educate, and leave you speculating about where the future of solar power might head. Hint: it will be much more abundant in our near future.

Solar Power vs. Grid Power: The Extreme Advantages

Solar Power over Grid Power Any “Day” of the Week

We’ve already listed out one of the greatest advantages of solar power; solar panels harness the power of the greatest energy source in the world. It’s superior in cleanliness over coal and fossil fuels; it’s virtually limitless; it has a much smaller ecological footprint than “burned” fuel; devices like off-grid solar lighting systems aren’t dependent on wirings or mass-connected lighting systems; and solar power is cheaper to implement than traditional grid power. Every year, we’ve seen significant price dips in solar power panels and increases in how efficient they convert light into energy.

On-Grid Power is Costlier than Off-Grid Solar

Our sales specialists here at Greenshine love to tell the story about a correctional facility they improved recently. Somehow a cable that shouldn’t have been touched was struck and their entire lighting system went dark. We’re sure wardens would shudder at hearing an entire prison facility going dark–security is the first problem coming to mind. It turns out that in order to fix the single power blip in their power grid, they needed to find the rogue wire, dig to where the wire resided, and then repair it. The facility was looking at a 60 thousand dollar price tag.

Thankfully, solar for the correctional facility was an option. Greenshine demonstrated that on-grid power vs off-grid solar is much costlier, and they developed a solution that was less than half of the price tag for overhauling an aged and malfunctioning on-grid power system. The savings of such a system primarily are due to avoiding digging a trench to connect to on-grid power sources and then covering the trenches back up; off-grid solar doesn’t need connectivity. The savings are up front as well as on energy bills in the future.

Off-Grid Solar Systems are Independent

We’re sure in the past you’ve experienced mishaps where a transformer has blown or been knocked out via some horrid storm, and suddenly the lights in the immediate area die. Productivity stops, safety drops, and people sometimes get into a small panic. Well off-grid solar lighting systems are independent to grid power, and so whatever happens to the system doesn’t affect solar! It’s a nice benefit to using a system that is powered via the sky’s furnace. Plus, each device is self-sufficient so if one fails, the rest continue to operate. Solar means self-sufficiency.

We take pride in using the sun’s energy to fuel our lighting systems. Solar is turning cheaper, increasing in efficiency, and turning into the future’s best method of lighting. Be like Superman and pull the power of the sun–maybe then you can find what superpowers the sun bestows. They unfortunately won’t be x-ray vision or super-human strength, but perhaps the power of flight fueled by the light of the sun.

solar panel lighting

3 Facts About the Use of Solar Power You May Not Know

solar panel lighting

We understand that it’s difficult to justify costs for new solar panel lighting, especially if project managers and check signers are rooted heavily in traditional lighting methods that have been cost-effective for years. It can be a little scary making the leap from one method towards another when the return on investment isn’t clear. Simply put, the facts about solar aren’t always apparent. We invite you, our guest, to consider the facts below and think about how solar can positively impact a decision financially and ecologically. Besides, the power of the sun per NASA is rated at 1,368 Watts per square meter at a distance of one astronomical unit (basically from the sun to the Earth). Why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of that?

Facts About Solar Panel Lighting

Solar Panels Have Increased in Efficiency to Above 20 Percent on Average

Solar power is actually older than many realize; the development of harnessing solar power was introduced in the mid 1800s when Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect. The first solar cell was less than 1% efficient with total power output. Modern panels are over 22% efficient–quite a change! As this technology develops and strengthens over time, we may see a jump in efficiency to 50 percent in the near future, an exciting threshold for universal energy. Every year we see progress towards solar technology that’s cheaper and more efficient. It’s just a matter of taking that small risk and jumping on the solar bandwagon.

Solar Energy is Incredibly Clean…and Solar Panel Lighting is Cheaper Than Ever

We have access to a virtually unending power source that can justify the price for solar panel lighting in a matter of years. Solar energy has zero impact on health and can reduce pollution and waste from oil and coal-based energy. Plus, the price per wattage produced by solar paneling has dropped to about 3.50 USD, a drastic drop of about 74 dollars from the 1970s. It’s a source of energy that’s cheap, clean, and renewable (at least until the sun dies out, we think). Why wouldn’t someone consider it for their next energy project?

It’s Not Just a Daytime Concern

A pain point for a lot of people considering the switch is what might happen when the sun doesn’t shine. After all, solar power is dependent on the sun, and when the sun isn’t around there’s concern about power sustainability during winter storms and cloudy conditions. Numerous corporations have stepped forward to invest in solar power storage, so those concerns of a powerless world during the darkest times of the year are shrinking. Many solar LED lights today utilize gel-cell deep cycle batteries that retain enough energy to last for days during the winter–and that doesn’t even address how long a solar power plant could sustain power. Plus, solar panels don’t require direct exposure to the sun to harness the energy. Even overcast days provide some kind of energy to gather and use.

Up front, the costs for solar panels may seem daunting and unapproachable, but using the sun’s power to fuel something else will eventually cover the cost for the panels themselves. The future of energy is pretty clear; we are trending towards an energy revolution with the sun at the center of it, with clean, cheap power for everyone to harness and use.

If you’re wondering if  solar power is the best avenue for your next lighting project, consider Greenshine. We are leaders in solar LED paneling with combined experience of over 30 years and over 5,000 installations spanning multiple industries. If you’d like to be a part of the growing energy revolution, feel free to contact us to learn more. Be the first on your block to harness the power of the sun and be an example of what the future holds for us all.