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5 Hidden Benefits of Solar Powered Street Lights
We’re like most of you--several things in our busy world are just an afterthought. We don’t consider how much pollution our daily commute generates. We don’t often think of where our pocket trash goes. We don’t think of how much CO2 comes out of our car every minute. We don’t consider how much of a carbon footprint one public light generates.
These small but significant things are merely afterthoughts as we go through our hustle and bustle of everyday life. Public lighting is one of the essential concepts that are rarely ever on our mind because we only miss it when it’s gone. As one of the most expensive necessities a business or city needs for safe, successful commuting, we never think of the price nor environmental impact what a simple light could bring to the table.
Truth be told, public lighting is costly and can be damaging to the environment because of the materials involved--some lights contain a lot of toxic chemicals that need to be handled properly, or else they could be extremely damaging to the environment and collective health.
But thankfully there’s a type of light out there that solves both problems of expense and pollution: solar-powered street lights are making waves in the public utility world and for many reasons.
Stick around for this 6-minute read, and we promise you’ll be wiser by the end.
Go Green, Save Some Green
When you read “solar,” we’re sure you know the connotation of that word--green energy, solar panels, pulling power from the sun--we’re all familiar with the concept. But there’s a lot more to solar than you may think, especially when it comes to lighting.
A standard public lighting system of about ten lights can cost several thousands of dollars on installation and even more over ten years.
It’s because of the method that these lights are powered. To get power to traditionally-powered lights, construction crews need to dig into the ground and connect the power. Sometimes that’s done far before any urban development or pavement is placed, but most projects need an upgrade from archaic, faulty systems that were built decades ago.
We’re sure a lighting system from the 1980s needs an overhaul, but the first step is to get to power--so digging needs to happen to replace the lights, and that isn’t always the most attractive action. We’re sure you can see why. But one of the most positive aspects of solar-powered street lights is that the power source is above-ground--the panel pulls all the power from the sun through what’s known as the photovoltaic effect.
The charge is then stored in a deep-cycle gel-acid battery (ideally), and then when the sun goes down, the light clicks on--in a nutshell. But municipalities and businesses often save several thousands of dollars upfront since trenching and wiring isn’t necessary on solar-powered street lights.
On a ten light system, trenching and wiring can cost nearly 40 thousand dollars. It’s typically more expensive than the lights themselves. Some projects we’ve seen in the past needed permits, they had to wire around train tracks, or even dig up yards and driveways of residents. Neither practical nor plausible.
Additional money benefits
We think the phrase “Zero energy bills” has a nice ring to it. That’s an added benefit of solar-powered street lights as well. On top of saving money from energy bills, DSIRE lists a wealth of tax incentives and financial benefits on state and federal levels that can earn more money after you’ve already saved gobs of it.
For 2020, the federal solar tax credit offers 26% money back for the total cost of the solar-powered lighting system. The government pays you to buy solar, and then you don’t pay energy bills for it.
We consider that a nifty double-whammy deal.
The green benefits of solar-powered street lighting
Solar power is incredibly clean in comparison to fossil fuel technology. The panels are made out of paper-thin wafers sliced out of monocrystalline silicon ingots, extremely pure cylinders of silicon that are drawn slowly out of vats that heat the impurities out of the materials.
This results in some of the most efficient panels on the market today--about 25% of the solar energy gets converted and stored for use in the solar-powered street light.
That’s significantly higher than a lot of other competing solar technologies. Every traditionally-powered light (sodium vapour, mercury vapour, metal halide, others) that uses 1KW of power also generates 830 grams of carbon equivalents. That’s no drop in a bucket, especially when considered on a global scale. 17% of our total carbon emissions come from lighting--it would be fantastic if we could remove that percentage out of our total emissions.
Plus, solar panels tend to attract visibility. Often, businesses and cities get media attention for efforts to “greenify” public utility. A quick search online reveals several towns that are overhauling their public lighting in favour of greener lighting solutions. It’s a fact--solar energy turns heads.
In a nutshell, solar-powered street lights have a quintet of benefits: they save businesses and cities money, reduce monthly energy costs (to zero), earn back cash through tax credits, improve the environment, and tend to get a little (or a lot of) attention.
Greenshine New Energy manufactures the most efficient solar street lights on the market that are literal shining examples of a cheaper, brighter future that’s closer on the horizon every day.
Find out how Greenshine can save you a lot of money by developing a lighting system for you today. Ditch tradition and adopt innovation.
Thanks for reading.
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