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Featured Articles   27 December 2023


The Future of Solar is Bright: The Top Three Things We Learned at SALC 2023


About SALC 2023

Recently, Sol attended the Street and Area Lighting Conference (SALC) presented by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) to assess the latest innovations and areas of focus for outdoor lighting specifiers.

Overview of SALC 2023


SALC gathers expert attendees from across the United States and internationally to represent utilities, municipalities, DOTs, consulting and engineering firms, research firms, manufacturing firms, and educational institutions. For Sol, SALC represents a valuable opportunity not only to absorb fresh insights on emerging industry trends and technologies but also to engage with clients, partners, and to showcase our leading-edge solutions in sustainable outdoor lighting.


One of the highlights for Sol at this year’s conference was having our own Jacob Dobson speak to the attendees. Jacob’s presentation focused on the importance of proper sizing and battery selection to ensure optimal performance in solar lighting projects. His talk provided practical, real-world insights to an engaged audience of nearly 800 professionals, reinforcing Sol’s commitment to both innovation and practical application in solar lighting.



Emerging Trends in Street and Area Lighting


The outdoor lighting industry is rapidly progressing to an age where non-LED light sources are a rarity, and it’s increasingly important for lighting professionals to be well-versed in the latest trends.


A key emerging trend in street lighting is the integration of smart lighting systems with remote control technologies. These advanced systems use NEMA or ZHAGA-based sensors and automation to intelligently adjust lighting in response to traffic and weather conditions, optimizing energy use and enhancing public safety. Additionally, wireless control systems simplify street lighting management by enabling remote adjustments and maintenance, further increasing energy efficiency and reducing operational costs.


Additionally, the introduction of decorative street lighting is transforming urban spaces, offering designs that range from classic to modern to suit various community aesthetics.


Solar streetlights are also gaining traction as a sustainable, cost-effective option, especially for greenfield projects or in remote areas. This trend aligns with global sustainability efforts by reducing reliance on traditional power sources and lowering carbon emissions.


This seamless integration of technology in street lighting, from smart controls to solar options, is making outdoor lighting more adaptable, sustainable, and effective.



Smart Cities: The Evolution of Lighting Controls


The SALC 2023 conference spotlighted the significant strides in smart city development, particularly in the realm of lighting controls.

Duke Energy’s showcase at SALC 2023 highlighted their smart lighting controls and field operations software, applied to over 2.5 million outdoor lights in their service areas. This deployment aims to cut energy costs and reduce carbon footprint, a common goal for most utilities and local governments looking to upgrade street lighting. However, Duke Energy’s approach goes beyond these initial objectives. By integrating smart streetlights with streetlight operations software, the company aims to achieve faster installations, reduced need for maintenance truck rolls, more accurate data collection, and improved overall service. This pairing of controls with software is a largely untapped potential that many utilities have yet to fully realize.


Acuity Brands’ contract for the Philadelphia Streetlight Improvement Project (PSIP) marks a significant move towards smart urban lighting. This project involves updating around 130,000 streetlights to remote-controlled LED lights. A majority of the project’s streetlights from American Electric Lighting (AEL) will be its new AutoConnect™ LED luminaires, which features embedded lighting controls and sensor technologies relying on intelligent DALI® D4i™ drivers. These work together to improve energy savings, provide enhanced operations and diagnostics, and simplify asset management. It’s a prime example of how smart technologies are being embraced in city planning.


These recent case studies from Duke Energy and Acuity Brands illustrate the transformative impact of smart lighting technologies in urban planning and the development of our cities.



Sustainability Practices


The lighting industry is not just witnessing technological advancements but also a significant shift towards sustainable practices. Supply chains were a topic discussed this year and the best methods for endorsing and rewarding products brought to the market sustainably. In the minds of many outdoor lighting manufacturers, it has now become about more than just delivering products; it’s about how these products are brought to the market and the environmental impact of their journey. Sustainability has been at the core of Sol’s DNA for decades. Through careful supply chain management and sourcing, Sol’s lighting project reduces the overall environmental impact while delivering all the same benefits. Sol’s utilization of its American-made components not only supports the US economy and American workers, it also reduces our products’ carbon footprint.



Sol’s Experience at SALC 2023


Sol’s experience at SALC 2023 broadened the team’s horizons on where the industry is heading. From emerging tech trends to smarter, more sustainable city lighting, we’ve gained valuable insights into the future of outdoor lighting and we are eager to integrate these new learnings into our products and services.


Whether you’re involved in urban planning, interested in environmental sustainability, or just keen to know more about the latest in solar lighting, we’ve got plenty to talk about. Keep following Sol for the latest updates and insights in outdoor lighting and solar technology.




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