The Anatomy of a Solar Light
Across the world, the widespread use of solar power systems establishes that they are feasible and relevant; when it comes to generating clean energy. Solar power modules help mitigate the drastic effects of global warming by reducing the carbon footprint.
Today, Solar power modules are popular among both residential and commercial facilities. Many countries of the world have now started using solar power to empower the most unprivileged communities. In the states, popular programs like the Community solar, and many more play a significant role in enabling the use of solar energy.
In light of the facts, it seems fitting to popularize the use of solar lights in the field of outdoor as well as indoor lighting. Manufacturing companies combine the power of Solar systems with energy-efficient LED technology and provide lighting solutions for public spaces. (such as parking lots, pavements, etc.)
Here, we will take solar street lights as a reference point to highlight and understand the structure of solar lights.
A solar street lighting fixture comprises of six parts:
A solar panel is one of the main components of the solar street lighting system. Without the panel(s), there would be no electricity for the light to work unless it connects to the utility grid.
In general, the panel mounts atop a pole. The placement angle of the solar panel is such that it captures maximum sunlight and converts it into usable electricity.
The necessity of street lights arises when it gets dark. However, the non-availability of the sun during the night time makes it impossible for solar panels to produce electricity at night. Also, the productivity of solar panels depends on the availability of the sun. Thus any unfavorable condition (like a non-sunny day) will lead to less to no-power generation by the panels. Therefore, solar batteries play a crucial role in making sure that the streetlight continues to receive a sufficient amount of electricity, even when the panels do not provide much output.
The battery placement is also essential. Since solar street lights are subject to harsh weather, it is necessary to place the battery inside a vented aluminum box that ensures its safety. In most solar street lights, placement of the battery box is right under the panel. The presence of solar battery (inc the box) underneath the panel further ensures its safety. This technique also makes sure that the battery does not overheat because of direct exposure to the sunlight.
Most manufacturers use LED lights in their solar street lighting fixtures. LED lights are the most popular choice among solar light manufacturers, as they provide excellent lumen output while consuming little energy. Also, LEDs provide consistent amounts of light, even at low input power supply. Also, the street lights that use LEDs are better for illuminating public spaces, as they provide a higher Color Rendering Index (CRI) and better Correlated Color Temperature (CCT), in comparison with the non-LED lighting fixtures.
Solar Light Controls
The placement of light controls that constitute electrical wiring and switches is inside the battery box. The function of the light control is to facilitate switching the solar light on and off. Some manufacturers will also offer light controls that allow customizing the solar light’s run times. It is the light controls that must provide a low voltage disconnect. (LVD) LVD is useful to make sure that the battery does not drain below a set ‘critical point’. There options available include, but do not limit to, ‘dusk to dawn’ light controls and time-specific on and off control.
Fixture Mounting bracket
A solar panel mounts over a fixed pole. However, without sturdy brackets to hold the panel, it will be impossible to keep the entire solar light upright and working. The bracket holds the panel and battery box at a set level above the ground. Also, it can be straight, have an upsweep, or can even be decorative depending on the architectural needs of the lighting project.
The pole is the final yet crucial component of any successful solar street light system. The pole must be strong enough to support the solar and tall sufficient to be able to help facilitate adequate street lighting. The architecture of solar light poles available on the market feature the use of durable material. (such as aluminum, steel, fiberglass composite or concrete.)
So, that was it. The anatomy of most solar lights is the same. (more or less) Depending on the area of use, a change shape and size of the lighting fixture is noticeable. The solar lamps that are available for residential use too work on the same principle, except that they do not have a mounting pole. The other constituents are quite the same. All components need to fit together so that the solar light can provide maximum output for years to come.