Most people, when they hear about solar power, what comes to their minds is that new products in the market are always expensive. However, that is not the case, since most studies and reports show that it is indeed half the cost you would incur using traditional systems. As much as solar panels for street lights costs, you can also reduce the costs even further when you choose to optimize each component of the street light system. Different from an Ideal situation, the process of purchasing the various parts for a project needs thorough considerations, careful planning and serious decision making.
In this article, we will focus on the solar panel, which is the power source of the system. There are various factors of consideration in solar panels for street light costs. Here are some of the factors that might be of interest to your project:
Sizing of The Solar Panel
The size of the solar panel to use for your solar street light project relies on a couple of factors, such as the temperature of the area, the insolation, and the shading. However, the principal determiner for the size of the solar panel is the wattage of the lighting fixture.
The power requirement of the entire street light systems will help in deciding the number of solar panels you will need in the design. Lowering the wattage of the light source can help reduce the street lights costs related to the installation of solar panels.
If you are familiar with the relationship between the PV module and the power capacity, then you know that an increase in power capacity means more Watt peak (Wp) and costs. You can quickly reduce the wattage by optimizing the lighting fixture, the Electric circuitry, and the battery.
Optimization in terms of the light source would mean doing proper calculations of the illumination required with the traffic patterns in mind. Do an analysis and determine the right traffic hours on the street will reduce the need for 12 hours of lighting (6 pm to 6 am).
Still, on the lighting fixture, optimization can be achieved by using new technology and innovations that aim to reduce power consumption. Currently, the most useful considerations are the use of LED or HPS, adaptive lighting techniques, and automation.
When you have entirely lowered the wattage of the luminaire, you can now work on reducing energy loss in the switch circuitry. This form of optimization requires that you ensure that the wiring is leakproof and that there are no signs of short-circuiting in the system.
Before you move on to the battery, ensure that the switch circuit is energy efficient. The battery is responsible for pumping in electricity into the luminaires, although the lighting feature to provide light at night. Besides being storage for energy, your battery should maintain the required of illumination for the expected period, and it should charge fast and, lastly, retain more power.
You can only optimize your battery use by selecting a product that has high energy savings. Here, an expert would tell you to analyze the battery type, brand, charging and discharging rate, life span, and other features that support your goal to lower the wattage of the system.
The optimization of other components of the solar street light will give you an estimate of the power capacity that you can work with when designing your solar panel and street light system. The optimization has some electrical calculations related to solar power.
The Panel generation factor (PGF) is also a critical element in the sizing of the solar panel for your street light system.
Type of Solar Panel
Any PV module can be useful in a solar street light project. Since our goals and budgets are not the same, some will go deeper to determine the specific solar panels that are cost-effective and energy-efficient.
Two types of photovoltaic cells you will find in modern solar street light systems include Mono Crystalline Silicon and Multi/Poly Crystalline Silicon or wafer-based crystalline silicon Solar cells. When choosing the type of solar panel to use, it is also essential to consider its conversion rate and efficiency. These two features can significantly reduce your street lights costs.
In modern solar-powered streetlights, the PV module is either integrated into the lighting fixture or the pole itself or mounted on the lighting source. These new designs can be challenging when you wish to maximize the use of Integrated photovoltaic panels due to their low levels of freedom.
Traditional and some modern solar street light systems use independent PV modules, which makes it easy for optimization to help reduce the overall street light cost. Therefore, the flexibility of the PV panels makes it easy for the adjustment of the directional angle for maximum absorption of sunlight.
Solar Panel Optimization
In the optimization of the solar panel, the goal is to ensure that the product works as per the design. It takes into account the mounting, the surrounding area, the local weather conditions, the latitude and climate of the site area, the shading, and other factors controlling the inputs and outputs of the equipment.
Keeping the solar panel clean is also another way of ensuring that you are using the full potential of the cells. It is important to note that there are certain factors that you cannot control. Only focus on the variable that you can change.
The lifetime cost of the lighting system relies on the solar panel and the components. Therefore, the sizing, the type or selection, and the optimization of the PV module are the three main factors of consideration in solar panels for streetlights costs.
Working on these three variables can significantly lower the lifetime solar panels for street lights costs. You do not need an oversized PV module if you have no plans to store the surplus energy. What you need is a fully functioning panel that converts enough solar energy to electric energy to meet the required power capacity.