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Information on Solar Photovoltaic Street Lighting Stand-alone Systems

November 27, 2018

Solar Photovoltaic street lighting systems are outdoor lighting systems which are designed to be self-sufficient and sustainable. These outdoors systems are apt for streets, parks, landscape lighting, parking etc. Automated and armed to switch on and off, as and when the Sun goes down and visible light gains strength by the dawn, these systems are energy efficient and impactful. The automated switching is enabled by the light source fitted in the system, which detects the open-air light source.

The Photovoltaic Street Lighting Stand-alone Systems are easy to maintain. This system comprises of:

  • SPV module (Solar Photovoltaic model);
  • A Chargeable controller;
  • Battery;
  • Luminaries;
  • Interconnecting cables

Components in brief:

SPV Module: Since the core of an SPV module is the solar panel, the system has a pole mounted panel of Solar photovoltaic cells. The SPV produces electricity which is then stored in the batteries. However, it is important for the installation of the panel to be angled correctly in a way that the face of the panel is towards the direction, which receives maximum sunlight.

Battery:The  SPV panel produces electricity that lights up the system. The power to light up the system is drawn from the batteries, which are a part of the SPV module. The SPV modules are self-sufficient because the batteries are a part of the system. The batteries are in a battery box attached to the pole of the system. For street lighting, tubular lead acid batteries are used. Since it is the batteries which need to be replaced in the SPV system, the battery box is always fixed at an accessible height

Charger Controller Unit (CCU): It is one of the main components that perform the vital task of controlling the battery charging level of the SPV module. When the panel starts producing electricity, which in turn charges the battery, the charge controller as the name suggests, monitors the overcharging. When the CCU senses that the charging is going overboard, it automatically disconnects the panel and the battery. CCU is also tasked with signalling low battery, battery charging and battery charged indications. An impactful CCU makes up for the battery life. The CCU can be customized too. It may be instructed to work through the night or may be set up to work for a counted numbers of hours.

Here one might question the need for such systems, in terms of their reliability, given that they are solar by nature, durability and even strength. Here are a few pointers to dispel the doubts.

1) Reliability: This is an often asked question. The doubts stem from the fact that SPV modules work using sunlight as their primary source of power. In that case, what about the days when there is no or limited amount of Sunlight, during the rains,  the winters, and even a damp day?

The SPV modules are designed to withstand such weather conditions. The panels mounted on the pole are not only strong but are also equipped to work for three to four days in case of unfavourable weather conditions. Installing a solar-powered lighting system has advantages that exceed far more than the obvious ones.

2) Off-grid: A Solar Photovoltaic Street Lighting Stand-alone System is not connected to any grid. It operates on its own. The immediate consequence of this is prominent in the electricity bills which are much lower.

3) No Emission: Fuelled by the Sun’s green energy, these lights have no consequential emissions whatsoever.

4) Convenience of dismantling:  The parts of a solar Photovoltaic Street Lighting Stand-alone Systems are assembled. The pole is fitted with the solar panel, the battery box is fitted onto the pole later and these systems have no cables to bother about. If these systems need transferring, it can be easily done since each part of the system is easily dismantled.

5) Easy maintenance: The Solar panel comes with a warranty of 25 years. Moreover, the photovoltaic cells in the panels do not need any kind of maintenance except for a water wash to wash away the dust and the bird droppings. The major maintenance in a way is needed for the batteries which need to be changed. For this very reason, the battery boxes are always fixed at a reachable height on the pole. It is also suggested that places, where the temperatures drop low, placing the battery box underground, helps in maintaining a healthy life cycle of the batteries.

6) Apt for difficult terrain: High altitude and treacherous terrains are often braved by truckers, drivers and travellers. In these areas, night street lights are a must. Installation of electricity poles and the whole set up of cables is not only messy but also quite risky. Here an SPV street lighting stand-alone system cuts the deal. Easy to install, with no cables attached, the solar lighting is ideal for these roads. Additionally, high altitude exposes these areas to immense sunlight. The downside would be strong winds. However, the poles on which the SPVs mounted, are made sturdy enough to withstand strong winds and hence this should not be a problem.

7) Safety: One of the major concerns with street lighting systems has always been public safety. If an electric pole falls, the causalities range from major injuries to fatal electrocution.

This is absolutely negated when it comes to the solar street light system since ;

  • The power is drawn from the battery and therefore even if the pole falls when being lit, there would be no electrocution.
  • With no cables attached and no network to share, consequential damages to other solar street lights are none.

Conclusion: Technological advancements have made Photovoltaic Street Lighting Stand-alone Systems possible. This system has made harnessing solar power possible for the outdoors, where the challenge was not so much about lighting the street as much as it was about controlling the lighting periods. With the automated systems now available, these systems are being favoured over the electricity poles and lights.

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