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Educational March 2015

Demystifying Solar LED Lights & Fixtures


Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are an efficient solid-state, directional light source ideal for solar-powered lighting applications. Although most people think of them as indicator lighting, there are types of LEDs specifically designed for general illumination applications.

As the technology has become more robust, reliable, and efficient, LED lighting has become more commonplace in everyday life. When properly integrated into a light fixture, or luminaire, the illumination should achieve over 80 lumens per watt of efficiency (7x more efficient than a light bulb) and a life of over 60,000 hours (> 12 years). The technology means that in more and more applications the light source lasts as long as the light fixture!

Sol exclusively uses LEDs as the source of illumination in our street and roadway, pathway and parks, parking lot, perimeter and security, and general area lighting systems. The reason for using them lies in the basic physics of the device. These diodes emit light in a controlled directional way, emit light efficiently, and have an extremely long life when properly engineered into a luminaire. Although they are not right for every lighting challenge, in solar, lighting LEDs provide excellent efficacy (light efficiency measured in lumens/Watt) and allow the use of precision optics to direct light in precise, repeatable patterns to maximize pole spacing.

LED lighting is a diverse field; it spans everything from traffic lights to televisions to light bulbs. The types used in each application are unique, so Sol only selects high-flux LED lighting for illumination. Use of 5mm style or high brightness LEDs for electronics will result in lower light output and unattractive color shifting. Our approach is to select the highest quality LEDs, follow the guidelines of the International Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), test our luminaires to the LM-79 testing standards, and purchase our fixtures from leading suppliers.

Sol uses state-of-the-art LED luminaires that are custom-wired specifically to work with our solar products. These lightweight yet durable luminaires offer 50,000 to 100,000+ hours of operation, provide excellent lumens per watt brightness, meet IES standards, and are IDA Dark-Sky Approved. They also offer maximum performance, even light distribution, a lightweight design, and 10-year limited fixture warranty.

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