A desert is a landscape that is considered barren but has always been vital for resources. Approximately one third of the earth's land surface is taken up by deserts. Even though the living conditions could be hostile, deserts are home to various livestock like camels, goats, and antelope that provide livelihood for people. Deserts also carry out vital planetary environmental functions. Deserts produce fruits such as dates, figs, and olives that are important food crops globally. Therefore, it is imperative to conserve desert spaces and to avoid unnecessary encroachment on them.
Deserts are broadly classified into four types such as coastal, cold, hot and dry and semi-arid. Both hot and cold desert regions are sources for salt, borates, gypsum, precious metal and gem mining. Sand and stone from the deserts have always been used to build structures where wood availability is scarce. Deserts play an essential role in economy and are supreme sources of generating renewable energy. Deserts have regular supply of sunshine in abundance. Since the temperature change in desert is different during the day and night compared to other landscapes, it requires a lot of planning when designing a lighting system for deserts.
State-of-the-art technology is needed to tackle the natural occurrence of heat waves and sandstorms which might hamper the operation of a solar light system. A sustainable design with high quality material is required to cope up with the extreme temperature during the day and the complete drop in temperature at night. When supplying solar street lights for the desert, the changes in temperature need to be addressed and the lamps should be protected from overheating.
Combating Heat waves and Sandstorms
Tall structures in the desert are easily affected by extreme winds and storms because of the mixing of cold and warm air and if not designed properly, sand can cover the solar panels and reduce the performance of the panels. Solar panels should be adjusted with a bigger bracket and positioned at a reclining angle so that the sand slides from the glass surface. If the sand or dust is accumulated on the surface of the solar panels, the production efficiency will be hindered. Periodic cleaning of the solar street light system ensures the longevity of the system.
The motion sensor street lights save energy by lighting up to 100% only when a movement is detected and the dimming feature of solar street lights results in more energy saved in the second half of the night. The revolutionary photometric design used in solar street lights controls the light distribution reasonably and offers a consistent brightness throughout. This energy saving mode helps to keep the stability and performance of the street lights in optimal status throughout their life even in harsh temperature.
To withstand the desert conditions for a longer period of time, the solar street light system should be durable and robust. The light fixtures designed for deserts are made from aluminum and every component of a solar street light has been carefully put together and tested to ensure that it withstands a variety of climatic conditions. The lithium battery used in a solar light fixture performs much better than a lead acid battery in extreme conditions. Lead acid batteries tend to fail in hot conditions and lithium batteries outperform lead acid batteries dramatically.
Solar lights are powered by purely solar energy and do not require any underground cable connection. The installation of solar street lights is quick and easy and saves operational costs since the installation uses only minimal labor and basic tools. Considering the sandstorms in the desert, the solar street lights need to be planted deep below the ground and secured with concrete at the base. The installation of the pole should be in such a way that any shifting of sand will not make the pole move from its position. Solar street lights are designed to perform outdoors and are built to be sturdy in all types of weather.
The latest solar street light designs are sleek and compact in appearance and do not come with an extra battery box. In case the light system has a battery box, ensure that the box is buried deeper so that the blazing sun does not affect the performance of the battery. With the advancing technology, the quality and performance of solar street lights are getting better. Solar street lights are now engineered in such a way that they can withstand extreme weather conditions in a sustainable and a cost-effective way.
Industrial mining in deserts can have multiple sustainability challenges. Long-term or permanent damage to the landscape is one of the negative effects of mining activity. With human settlements at the site of mining and carbon emissions from the vehicles, environmental degradation is an ongoing problem in deserts. Considering these in mind, illuminating our deserts with solar street lights is a significant contribution towards a healthy and cleaner environment.