History of Street Lights
It was in the 1500s that public street lighting was first developed, which advanced further in the following centuries. The invention of lanterns with glass windows improved the quality of light and piped coal gas was a later widespread system of street lighting. The first electric street lighting came about in 1875. Before the arrival of high-intensity gas-discharge lamps, incandescent lamps were used for street lighting. During World War II, low-pressure sodium lamps were put to use, which were known for their low power consumption and longevity. The street light that we see today is a raised source of light typically mounted on a pole to provide illumination on public roads and at intersections. The latest technology in street lighting utilizes LED or induction lights which emit white light and white light sources are well known to double peripheral vision of drivers and to enable pedestrians to detect hazards on their path.
Low visibility at night can cause collisions and street lighting improves safety for drivers, riders, pedestrians and the people with weak eyesight. Long lasting and good quality street lights could reduce nighttime fatalities and can be used to promote security in public areas and to improve the quality of life by making people feel safer. It is hard to imagine how life used to be before the invention of street lights. The day does not end for us after daylight hours as streetlights assist in extending our active hours where we can carry on with our work and recreational activities. Criminal activities like mugging and burglaries are significantly decreased in well-lit public spaces. Darkness makes a psychological effect on people and bright lights generally make us feel safer at night. Good street lighting also benefits commercial establishments because customers feel more welcome and safer in areas with adequate lighting. However, if not used effectively and efficiently, the lights can result in pollution and energy consumption at large.
Disadvantages of Conventional Street Lighting System
Installation of traditional street lights is a laborious work requiring a great deal of manpower for trenching, underground cabling and pulling the poles upright. Routine maintenance is required and most times, the lights are to be switched on switched off by appointed personnel on a daily basis, eventually causing the authorities to invest more and more on the already installed lights. It is a frequent sight that many street lights remain on even after the sun comes up, thereby causing electricity wastage. Any temporary interruption in power supply or severe blackout could leave the cities in complete darkness and make the nightlife challenging and dangerous. Traditional street lights are not an environment-friendly option and since all the cables are connected with each other, inter dependency weakness demands constant manual intervention. There is also a possibility for cable theft and risk of accidents caused by loose cables.
Solar Street Lights
Solar power is getting increasing popularity as a sustainable and effective source for street lighting. Solar street lights operate on the simple principle of photovoltaic effect. Solar street lights have embedded solar panel, in-built batteries as well as automatic controls. The solar panel converts solar power into electrical energy which is stored in the battery and used for dusk-to-dawn lighting. The commonly used street lights are all-in-one solar street lights and integrated solar street lights. Solar lights are the best choice for the countries with abundance of sunlight to illuminate the public spaces and gardens. It is always important to analyze the location and regular traffic and strategically place the lights. The lights should be placed where direct sunlight is available and to receive maximum brightness, the lights should be out of shades of nearby trees or tall building structures.
Benefits of Solar Street Lights
Solar street lights are cost-effective and are acknowledged for energy conservation and their long life. Compared to conventional street lights, solar street lights require less maintenance. Since there are no external wires, the lights do not pose any threat of accidents like electrocution, strangulation and overheating. While some solar street light models operate with average lumen brightness from dusk to dawn, others with motion sensors help in analyzing the lighting condition and give out full brightness of the first four to five hours and then glow to 100% brightness only while detecting movement of objects in the field of their view and then dim down automatically after some time. This smart feature helps to reduce energy consumption of the lights, thereby extending the lifespan of the solar street lights.
Solar street lights are capable of working throughout the night and can extend to a couple of nights more before having to recharge. The chances of overheating in Solar LEDs are relatively low. Solar street lights are independent of the utility company as the energy used is purely free and due to the off-grid nature, the operation costs of the lights are minimal. Irrespective of power outage and grid failures, solar street lights continue to light up the streets throughout the night. Solar-powered street lights are a perfect lighting solution as the electricity produced is non-pollutive and aid in lowering carbon footprint of residences and businesses. In short, the reasons to switch to solar street lights are many:
Environment impact: The energy used to run solar street lights is clean, renewable solar energy. The government as well as the citizens must work together towards green energy goals. Compared to traditional street lights, solar lights emit less carbon dioxide and no natural resources are depleted since the energy used is the non-exhaustible energy from the sun.
Cost effective: Since the solar-powered street lights do not need electric grid or cables, the operational and maintenance costs are a lot lesser. There is no grid electricity used, hence solar street lights help in reducing the electricity bills. Budgetary restrictions are one of the main reasons why authorities hesitate to invest on public lighting systems; however, apart from the initial investment, solar street lights do not demand any installation or maintenance charges.
Low maintenance: Once the solar lights are installed, there is no manual intervention required to switch on or switch off the lights. The lights may require only occasional checkup and cleaning and the lights can illuminate the area for many years without any problems. Solar street lighting has built-in intelligence and therefore, they are deemed to be safe and economical.
Easy installation: Solar street lights do not require any cable laying work or complicated power facilities; therefore, problems in one area cannot affect the whole power supply system (inter dependency weakness). The installation demands only a minimum number of workers and the process itself is relatively simpler.
Effective in emergencies: During natural disasters, traditional lights tend to stop working when disconnected from the main source but solar lights are designed to work even in the extreme weather conditions. The lights are weatherproof and waterproof and the biggest advantage of solar street light is that they will continue to light up the area even during a power outage.
Long-lasting battery life: Solar street lights turn on and turn off automatically and they come with dusk to dawn sensor feature. Moreover, the solar street lights with motion sensors detect movement and change the intensity of the light. This feature helps in extending battery life with their dimming option when no movement is detected and then glowing to full brightness when movement is observed.
Better business option: Solar street lights are turning out to be a better business option as people are becoming more aware of the importance of contributing towards the society to maintain a green environment. Depending on your needs, there is a variety of solar street lights to choose from.