The design and installation of solar street light at night aim for one lighting reason. Some of them may provide the needed illumination but fail to maintain the production for the expected time. There are avoidable and unavoidable circumstances that create this kind of problem.
In this article, you’ll learn how to achieve more hours of a solar street light at night. Let’s go straight to the factors that lead to insufficient lighting at night and some of the suitable solutions you can use to get what you need.
Insufficient Sunlight as A Factor
It is hard to predict, let alone control nature. In these times of global warming, climatic conditions are bound to change drastically. There might be a reduction in the amount of sunlight in the location you wish to install your solar streetlight.
Reduced insolation directly affects the efficiency of your solar panel. Reduced sunlight means there will be less energy stored in your battery to support the production of light throughout the night. If you are experiencing a change in local weather, then you will need a better solution.
In this situation, you can achieve more hours of a solar street light at night by increasing solar energy conversion or storage capacity. To increase the production of electricity, you can add more PV cells. More solar panels allow you to add a large surface area for the absorption of more sunlight.
In terms of capacity, you can choose to use a battery autonomy of three or more rainy days. A battery that can supply the required energy in harsh conditions for a more extended period will let you light up your area all through the night.
Therefore, in the sizing and optimization of photovoltaic cells and storage devices, the climatic change should be a point of consideration. Consequently, it is essential to factor in all extreme weather conditions in the design of solar street light components.
Another solution in areas where there is insufficient sunlight is a partial connection to the grid such that when there is not enough energy from the battery, it can draw more power from the mains. This solution helps a lot as backup storage, but it comes at a cost.
Amount of Illumination as A Factor
The amount of lighting can also be a factor leading to insufficient lighting at night. Rarely do people calculate the amount of illumination for their solar streetlight systems. They often go with the brightness of the light that impresses them.
The disadvantage of not calculating the total amount of visible light emitted by your lighting source is over-discharging your battery. Bright lighting fixtures require more energy to produce the required levels of illumination.
However, there are more advanced lamps that produce more brightness with less energy consumption. The lighting industry is working hard to improve the lumen to power ratio for energy-saving needs. It is now easy to design the lighting source using the lumen per watt ratio, also known as the luminous efficiency.
Considering the total luminous flux to the total radiant flux ratio of a source will ensure that you produce the desired illumination using the design power requirements. The required watts of power is crucial in the design of the storage device and the solar panels.
In terms of illumination, you can choose to use LED lamps instead of the contemporary ones that consume more energy to produce light. This type of light source has the highest luminous efficiency; hence, it can produce brighter lights while consuming relatively low power.
Besides energy saving, LED technology is cheaper and also designed to produce a longer life span. Advances in LED technology are making it affordable and practical for solar street light owners to increase more hours of use at night.
Adaptive Lighting as A Solution
The use of adaptive lighting feature in most street light systems is to automatically adjust the illumination in reaction to the change in activity or ambiance of the surroundings. There are various control options and technology for solar lighting that you can use for your project.
The dust- dawn automatic feature is the most popular option when it comes to adaptive lighting. This option assumes that you will need light for the whole 12 hours of the night. Most street light projects do not share the same traffic behaviors and needs, so with the right control technique, you can optimize the use of energy.
Based on the traffic behavior of the location you wish to install your solar street light, you can use the timer control. This way, you can set the time you want to have your street lights on, and when they should go off and resume charging.
Motion detectors or sensors in solar street lights are essential for security and surveillance needs. They rely on the activity below the lighting fixture to adjust the brightness of the lights. This way, the street lights will be operating on the lowest possible level of illumination that can increase with motion detection.
Therefore, your lighting source can run at full or low power all night, and this depends on your needs. Running your streetlight on full power will give you less time of services as it depletes the energy stored in the battery.
Here you can only modify the switching or introduce sensory technology such as LDR (Light Dependent Resistor) or PIR (Passive Infrared Sensor) to turn on and off on preset time, ambient changes, and activities. Controlling the light intensity ensures energy saving and optimum lighting.
As a conclusion, you can quickly reduce the power consumption and increase more hours of a solar street light at night if you consider the solutions we recommend. You can choose to increase the size of your solar panel or battery for high conversation rate and storage, or dim the lights.
The goal for energy conservation and more prolonged use is to produce enough and useful light and to avoid light pollution.