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Educational   7 February 2024


How Solar Lighting Could Impact Your Community & how to Advocate for It

Residential area with solar street lighting

Quality Infrastructure and How Solar Lighting is the First Step


Infrastructure is the foundation of any city, town, or municipality. There are critical factors that influence how an area’s infrastructure operates—its budget allocation and the safety of its citizens are among the most important. Solar lighting has the tools to help both. Solar lighting projects provide safer, cheaper, and more sustainable alternatives to the traditional grid-based lighting that most cities rely on. Those traditional systems are prone to blackouts, high energy rates, and energy riders that can drastically increase monthly bills.

Keep reading to learn how your local community can save money, feel safer, and protect the planet through the benefits of solar lighting.



Understanding the Benefits of Solar Lighting


Solar lighting has several benefits that have a profound impact on the community, such as its simple installation, reliable energy output, and cheap maintenance. With solar lighting, there are never lengthy projects that shut down vital sectors of the city.





First and foremost, solar lighting provides the opportunity for a community to have self-sufficient energy sources, separate from grid-based power. Solar lights are far less susceptible to blackouts or lapses in power that can happen when overusing grid power. Solar lighting’s energy independence saves money as time goes on, as cities would have no obligation to rely on third-party energy and lighting providers. Solar lights are also exceptionally low maintenance and do not require active upkeep to function optimally.



Decrease Light Pollution


Sol’s deliberately designed lighting products are also dark-sky compliant, which reduces light pollution, especially in cities with higher population densities. Light pollution occurs when light spills upwards into the sky, making the night sky appear slightly diluted and robbing a city of its natural beauty, disrupting the natural patterns of wildlife, and increasing carbon dioxide emissions.



More Light—Fewer Fixtures


Not only are Sol’s products meticulously designed to avoid light pollution, but they are also designed to cover a wider area with fewer fixtures. The fewer, better-designed fixtures reduce installation time and costs significantly while also expending less resources and labor.


Wellen Park Trail, with solar lights



Environmentally Friendly While Increasing Outdoor Activities


Especially relevant in cities with an abundance of green space, solar lights are also a great option to light parks throughout the year so citizens can enjoy them throughout the year. Sol had the pleasure of installing 77 of our iSSL+ all-in-one systems to provide illumination for Wellen Park Trail in Sarasota County, Florida. Sol’s solution helped keep the trail lit at night without disrupting the wildlife and without the need for underground wiring. Residents can now enjoy the park safely and more often. With more reliable lights, park-goers can feel more comfortable visiting the park during all hours of its operation, regardless of the time of day.



Preparing the Case


Having discussed the benefits of solar lighting, it’s crucial to understand which of those benefits a local government might prioritize when presenting a possible solar solution.


Numbers are important, as nothing can proceed without the proper funds to begin the project. Luckily, solar lighting decreases costs by removing the need to source third-party electric companies. It may imply higher starting costs for long-term savings, but with the recent signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, local governments can receive up to a 30% uncapped tax credit when beginning their solar lighting project. With 30% of the budget already taken care of on the federal level, the project’s likelihood of success skyrockets. Now is the time to take advantage of this credit, as in time, its benefits will decrease.


reasons to choose solar



Common Arguments Against Solar Lighting


To assist in solar lighting resource collection, Sol has dedicated an entirely separate blog post detailing all of the common misconceptions that a government may have when debating a solar lighting project.


Among those common misconceptions is that solar lighting has weaknesses when it comes to the weather. With its direct relationship with the sun, it’s understandable to assume that their functionality may be compromised without direct sunlight or in cold weather. However, this is not the truth, as some solar lights function more optimally at lower temperatures. Similarly, they also function perfectly on cloudy days, as there is still always sun reaching them. More information about these topics can be found in our other blog posts about solar lighting in cold weather and solar lighting in cloudy weather.




Engaging with the Community


Now that all of the solar lighting information is gathered, it’s time to take action. Switching a city’s infrastructure is a daunting task, but there are a few methods that activists can use for a boost in their journey.


  1. Research any local businesses or homes that use solar power in the area and reach out to their respective owners. Document their experience with solar lighting and their opinions on its functionality.
  2. Share money-saving statistics about how solar lighting is the most cost-effective solution. Reference the Inflation Reduction Act’s 30% tax credit and long-term energy independence.


With this information at the ready, make note of the city’s next city council meeting and make plans to attend to properly share the facts about solar lighting. Make a case about how solar lighting could save the city money on infrastructure while being environmentally friendly. City council meetings have an audience already there, so there’s no need to drum up local attention before attending. However, bringing local and impassioned supporters for your case will only help its credibility.


If city council meetings appear too daunting, websites like change.org and workingamerica.org are great starting points for forming a petition. With more active support for the cause, its message carries more weight and the area will have a better idea of the project. Be sure to post about the petition on social media and encourage friends and loved ones to do the same.



Approaching the City Council


As mentioned before, city council meetings are a great way to spread the message, but arriving prepared is key to a valuable presentation. Each city holds its meetings at different times and in different subsections, so be sure to attend the appropriate meetings. While there are no standard meeting titles for solar-focused city council meetings, an example title could include “Climate, Environment & Infrastructure.”


Public city councils are required by law to hear public ideas, so that is the best chance to make a case for solar lighting and its benefits. After the meeting is adjourned, make sure to collect contact information for members of the council to ensure a proper follow-up so the solar lighting proposal does not lose momentum after a successful presentation. Many ideas are shared through public city council meetings, so make sure they keep solar lighting at the top of their mind.



Leading a Brighter Future


Advocating for more sustainable, affordable, and reliable lighting is important for supporting any city’s infrastructure. Devoted individuals are often the catalyst for resounding change in their local communities, especially when their argument keeps their residents safer and saves the city money.


Want to Chat About Solar Lighting and Your Local Community?

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man installing light fixture

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