Why Are Solar Powered Parking Lot Lights Safer Than Traditional Lights
Posted by Stephen Shickadance in How Solar Lights Work.
One late night in November of 2020, a mass power outage happened in Medford, Oregon, stranding thousands of commuters in the dark. Furthermore, “gun-like sounds” were heard in the area, causing levels of anxiety to rise among commuters (it’s argued that the sounds were transformers exploding, but not confirmed). Thankfully, the power was restored within a matter of hours, but it’s a wonder what problems it may have caused. It’s cases like these where thousands could benefit from an off-grid lighting solution, one impervious to sudden outages where crime and accidents might be on the rise. It just so happens there’s something that Greenshine New Energy specializes in: solar-powered parking lot lights. They’re incredibly versatile, cost-effective, and fantastic for enhancing safety during times of power outage and emergency. Let us tell you why businesses are swapping to solar to power their parking lot lighting in this 8-minute read.
Solar Powered Parking Lot Lights: How They Operate
You might be wondering how a solar light operates; we’ll admit it’s a lot more technical than just hitting an “on” switch or setting a timer every day. Solar panels gather photons from light rays via photovoltaics. The photons carry electrons which are captured by the solar panel and transmitted to a battery. The battery stores the energy (typically about a week’s worth if you’re using quality) until it’s needed for later.
This solar power system is attached to a sturdy, resilient pole with an LED fixture at the top. Delicate sensors in the system detect when natural light drops, the energy flow of electrons is reversed from the battery, and the energy flow powers the light fixture. Lumen output can be controlled by the settings of the EMS (energy management system) so the lights can ramp up to full brightness over the course of a few hours, or however long you need.
That’s a basic overview of how these lights operate. But, here’s why they’re fantastic for parking lot safety.
What Do Solar Parking Lot Lights Do for Safety?
Traditional lighting has some extreme flaws. As before, a power outage can leave commuters stranded in darkness. Power grids can be faulty (especially in the case of PG&E, which have constant power problems in California) and lighting can be gone during the most crucial times at night.
The benefit of solar parking lot lights is that they remain on, even during power outages, natural disasters, or any other reason that traditional lighting might fail. We have a project in Guam that was recently hit by a severe typhoon and, sure enough, the solar lights remained on during the storm and its aftermath. It’s because each light is self-autonomous and doesn’t draw energy from the underground power grid. The power is stored inside of the system battery, which is protected by a thick steel box that can be placed high on the pole for security, low on the pole for ease-of-access, or even underground to protect from extreme temperature changes.
Additionally, solar lighting for parking lots can be coupled with motion sensors to increase power to full brightness when motion is detected, using less power and lengthening the life-cycle of the system components.
If the solar panels have unrestricted access to the sky, there’s enough power inside the batteries to last an entire 5 days of autonomy, so there aren’t concerns about how long the lights will “last”. Even during an extreme storm where the sun’s rays are scattered and blocked, each solar lighting system for a parking lot will remain on. That’s why they’re so important for safety—they won’t leave you in the dark.
Isn’t Solar Expensive?
It used to be! Silicon technology (which is used heavily in computer technology) has improved since it was first utilized to power electronics. Swanson’s Law shows a significant and consistent drop in price. According to Wikipedia, “Swanson's law is the observation that the price of solar photovoltaic modules tends to drop 20 percent for every doubling of cumulative shipped volume.” So solar lighting overall has dropped in price as well. You’ll pay about 1,000 dollars more with a solar light than traditional.
So Why Would I Want Solar Lighting for a Parking Lot?
Because you don’t need that electrical infrastructure in order to power them. Costs to trench, wire, and backfill for an entire lighting system can be astronomically high, almost as much as purchasing an entire set of lights. You’ll pay more up front for the solar lighting systems, but saving on the electrical wiring is oftentimes worth the investment in solar lighting alone.
That’s not to mention saving on energy (solar energy is free, by the way), the solar investment tax credit for commercial lighting systems, and other state and federal financial benefits from using solar parking lot lights. They’re more than just lights for safety—they’re cost-effective, renewable-energy, long-lasting public lights that require very little maintenance. An occasional wipe-down of each glass-covered panel should do the trick to keep the panels operating at full potential. The first upkeep of any type tends to be around 5 years of operation, when the batteries need to be replaced.
In a Nutshell
If you want enhanced safety, a more cost-effective solution, fewer energy bills, and an overall better purchase for public lighting, solar parking lot lights win over traditional lighting, hands-down. We’re in business of keeping the lights on the economical way, so if you’d like to learn more about our lighting solutions, contact us. We’d love to hear from you.
LATEST NEWS & ARTICLES