Home » Learn About Solar Lighting » Can I add solar to an existing street light?

Educational May 2019

Can I add solar to an existing street light?


Have an existing electric street light. Can I convert it to run on solar power?

The short answer: yes and no. While an electric street light pole might be able to be reused for a solar lighting system, the light fixture itself would need to be replaced to run on solar power.

Why can’t you just attach a solar panel to the existing light?

A common misconception of solar lighting is that the solar power is stored in the solar panel itself until nightfall, at which time it powers the light fixture directly. In fact, the fixture is powered via a battery—and the battery is charged through the solar panel. Along with an energy management system, the battery ensures enough electrical charge is stored during the day to power the light all through the night, even if poor weather means several nights’ worth of power must be stored. Also, your existing light fixture is designed for AC power, so it would need to be replaced with a DC-powered (battery) model.


LEARN MORE: Our handy diagram shows how a complete solar lighting system works.

Can I reuse the pole, at least?

Here, the answer is maybe. It depends on the existing pole’s wind loading. A solar lighting system, and specifically the solar panel, will add additional weight and wind resistance, and if the pole is not built to withstand that, it may need to be replaced with a more robust version. However, Sol Inc. has a side-of-pole mount option that enables us to provide a solution that is technically feasible in some cases, especially if wind is not a pressing issue in your area.

How do I determine if my electric-solar conversion will be possible?

Contact our experienced, knowledgeable sales team for a one-on-one consultation for your retrofit. We are ready to help find the most economically viable solution. And if your existing setup is not feasible for a retrofit, our newest product, the EverGen M Series, is a complete solar lighting system with all pieces configured to work efficiently together over the long term.


Contact our team

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