Keys to optimize street lighting with solar luminaire systems

By June 20, 2024No Comments

The importance of planning for solar luminaire projects

At a time when we need to look for increasingly sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions, solar technology has become a beacon of hope, also for the public lighting sector.

The adoption of solar luminaires represents a step towards reducing the carbon footprint and a drive towards long-term energy independence and efficiency.

The most obvious advantage of solar luminaires lies in their ability to harness an inexhaustible and clean source of energy: the sun. This approach not only reduces long-term operating costs, but also ensures a reliable power supply even in remote areas or areas with limited access to the grid.

However, many solar lighting projects that are implemented around the world do not become success stories and do not achieve the desired objectives. This can be due to several reasons, among others, inadequate project design and poor energy balance, low product quality, lack of a diagnostic system, lack of maintenance and vandalism. The result is a lost investment in a short time.

What factors should be considered when planning a solar luminaire project?

A solar luminaire has three elements: the photovoltaic panel, the battery and the luminaire. But when talking about solar lighting, it is essential to understand that the luminaire will only have the energy captured by the panel and stored in the batteries, and that there must be a balance between the consumption of the luminaire and the stored energy (Wh).

In order to achieve maximum illumination, it is necessary that the luminaire and the lighting design be as efficient as possible in terms of lm/w.

It will also be necessary to adapt light levels to different times and needs, so that energy can be saved if lighting levels can be lowered.

The success of a solar project depends on the following parameters:

  • Location and implementation of the project.
  • Panel sizing
  • Battery sizing.
  • Luminaire consumption strategies.
  • Correct interpretation of the information of each of the attributes mentioned and of the studies prior to the execution of the project.

Therefore, the first question we ask ourselves at Salvi Lighting when we receive a solar lighting project is: What are the conditions and needs of the project?

The first step is to know how much energy availability we have, defined by the panel power (w) and the battery capacity (Wh) in a given geographical location. It is also important to take into account the life of the batteries, which depends on their technology, temperature, and the maximum discharge percentage allowed. Currently, in Salvi we are using LiFePO4 + graphene technology that allows us to offer a life of about 5000 cycles (more than ten years in public lighting).

With all the information, we carry out a lighting study to determine the power required for maximum lighting conditions. The energy balance is studied, which consists of multiplying the power consumed by the time of use and adding it up for the different periods of the night with different lighting intensity, and then comparing it with the availability of energy stored in the battery.

Generally, it is necessary to make several iterations varying the necessary power levels and times of use until equilibrium is achieved.

Our luminaire configurator is an easy-to-use online tool designed to guide our customers through the process of customizing their project quickly and easily. This tool performs photometric calculations, solar configuration and complete product definition and, as a result, presents all the necessary project documentation.

In the case of solar luminaire projects, this configurator allows us to know the solar feasibility of the project and to provide documentation such as the feasibility report, product data sheet, drawings and lighting studies.

The solar radiation incident on the panel is a determining factor for the correct dimensioning of the needs according to the geographical location.

In our analysis and planning stage of each solar lighting project, we have tools that provide detailed and accurate information about solar radiation and the performance of photovoltaic systems in a specific location. In addition, they help us to size panels and batteries to plan and develop solar projects.

A well-designed street lighting system improves road safety and contributes to environmental protection by reducing light pollution and energy consumption. The right choice and configuration of the luminaire are essential to achieve optimum energy efficiency and to use material and energy resources in a consistent manner.

The Smartec® remote monitoring and control tool monitors in real time all the parameters of the luminaire, the battery, the solar panel and the operating mode throughout the night and for the different seasons, and allows them to be adjusted remotely if necessary.

It is a vital element for the success of the project and the durability of the solar luminaire for many years, facilitating preventive and corrective maintenance of the lighting installations.

S.I.L. solar luminaire with Smartec® smartlighting system

Our S.I.L. luminaire is a self-contained solar luminaire that incorporates all the elements in a single, slim, self-designed geometry. It is highly efficient and durable, providing light for up to ten years with almost no maintenance.

The S.I.L. luminaire is suitable for the installation of Smartec®, the intelligent remote management software that we have developed at Salvi Lighting Barcelona. This system not only allows remote configuration and management of public lighting services, but also optimizes the performance of the luminaire.

Both solutions, the S.I.L. luminaire and the Smartec® software have been recognized and certified by the Solar Impulse Foundation as two of the 1000solutions to change the world and build a cleaner, more responsible, efficient and adapted future.

In recent years, we have witnessed an exponential growth in the implementation of solar-powered lighting systems in urban and rural environments around the world. This phenomenon not only responds to growing environmental awareness, but also to technological advances. However, there are many cases in which solar lighting projects fail due to errors in the sizing of components, the abandonment of installations due to the absence of indicators and the lack of monitoring the performance of luminaires with intelligent systems.

From Salvi Lighting Barcelona we highlight the importance of the whole industry to continue working to improve the implementation of optimal and long lasting solar lighting systems. We develop efficient lighting systems and solutions such as Smartec® because we are committed to building a more responsible and sustainable future.

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