Streets and roadways February 2014
Solar commercial outdoor lighting offers many advantages to owners and occupiers and is cost-effective now in many industrial property applications.
– By Divakar “Dibs” Tailor, President/CEO, Sol Lighting
Many industrial property owners and occupiers are awaiting the moment of grid parity — the point at which the cost of solar energy is equivalent to that of traditional electricity—before installing a rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system. But what they may not realize is that there is one solar application that is cost-effective now in many industrial property applications: solar commercial outdoor lighting.
These applications include those in which no electrical infrastructure exists or in which there is a reluctance to disturb the landscape or existing paving. In such situations the payback for installing a solar commercial outdoor lighting system can usually be achieved immediately by eliminating the costs of trenching, wiring, and other electrical and utility costs associated with the installation of a new grid-tied lighting system.
Plus, with solar lighting, there is never an electric bill!
Solar outdoor commercial lighting may, in fact, be the most economical choice including for parking lots, roadways, shelters, pathways, perimeter security, storage areas, and temporary lighting.
In addition to saving on electricity costs, solar outdoor commercial lighting also saves on maintenance costs. Unlike traditional commercial outdoor lighting, solar commercial outdoor lighting is virtually maintenance-free because the batteries require no water or other regular service. And, when properly integrated into a light fixture, or luminaire, the LED lights used in solar lighting have a lifespan of more than 12 years.
Also, solar LED lights allow for much more flexibility than traditional commercial outdoor lighting. In addition to on/off schedules, LEDs can be employed with dimmers to turn the lights down when a facility is not in use, and motion sensors to turn them off when no one is present. Such aggressive control strategies reduce photovoltaic and battery demand, making the systems even more cost-effective.
Solar-powered LEDs also offer a better quality of light than traditional commercial outdoor lighting. And they offer another benefit that is becoming increasingly important with the increased incidence of extreme weather events and the increased stress on the electric grid — the ability to continue to shine during brownouts or power outages.
Most of today’s solar modules will produce useful amounts of electricity for 30 years, and perhaps for as long as 50 years…Yet another consideration is the long life of solar commercial outdoor lighting systems.
Most of today’s solar modules will produce useful amounts of electricity for 30 years, and perhaps for as long as 50 years, meaning that solar lighting will continue to produce savings for many decades to come.
For many industrial property owners and occupiers, however, the most important advantage is the public relations value of powering lights with a “green” source of energy. Because solar commercial outdoor lighting uses no fossil fuels and creates no CO2 emissions, it provides a visible statement of a company’s commitment to national energy security and to the protection of the environment.
In conclusion, solar commercial outdoor lighting offers many advantages to owners and occupiers of industrial properties. Those involved in remodeling or new construction projects should consider solar for their commercial outdoor lighting needs.