Solar Street Light : Components, Types, Benefits & More

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Solar Street Light : Components, Types, Benefits & More

Renewable energy sources play an important role in sustainable and inclusive development. By improving energy security and energy access for the communities lacking it, renewable energy sources have led to hopes of a cleaner environment. energy produces 90%-99% less greenhouse gases (GHGs) and 70%-90% less pollutants when compared to fossil fuel-powered plants. Integrating the benefits of renewable energy, such as sunlight, into the country’s infrastructural development will facilitate sustainable development. With that in mind, solar street lights are increasingly getting installed all over the world.

What are Solar Street Lights?

These street lights are light sources ideal for powering up urban and rural spaces. These are powered by solar panels, which are mounted on lighting structures. They might also be integrated into the pole. These light sources make use of sunlight to light up the area during nighttime. Solar street lights have ushered in various social changes. For instance, it has improved women’s safety in semi-urban areas. These days, women feel safer venturing out after dark in a well-lit area compared to earlier days. A later section will deal with social changes caused by solar street lights. Now, let us understand its components.

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Components of a Solar Lighting System

Details of the components of a solar street lighting system are as follows:

    • Solar street light panels

This can easily be described as the core component of the street lighting system. Solar panels comprise photovoltaic cells (PV cells), which convert solar energy into electricity. Usually, these panels are mounted atop a light fixture. They can also be mounted on a separate pole located nearby.

    • Batteries

Solar battery is the storehouse of electricity generated by solar panels during the daytime. It releases electricity to illuminate the area after sunset. Generally, experts prefer lithium phosphate or lithium-ion batteries in solar street lights. These batteries don’t require much maintenance and are easily rechargeable.

    • LED light

Solar energy researchers have mandated that Light Emitting Diodes (LED) should be long-lasting and energy-efficient. You can get LED lights with different power ratings. For instance, the power ratings range from 9 watts to 24 watts. The lighting requirement determines the power rating.

    • Pole

This component provides the necessary support for solar panels, batteries and lighting fixtures. It is also responsible for determining the height of the street light. Usually, poles and mounting structures are made up of galvanised steel, mild steel or a similar material.

    • Controller

This component is widely referred to as the brain of a solar street lighting structure. It is primarily because a controller is responsible for regulating the charging and discharging of batteries. Furthermore, a controller manages the output of light depending on the time of the day, temperature, motion detection and ambient light.

Types of Solar Street Lights

Now, let us take a look at the different types of solar street lights:

    • Normal/standalone street light

Here, the solar panels, battery box and solar LED light are mounted on a pole separately. These components are placed along with the light arm.

    • Two-in-one solar street light

While the placement of the components is the same as a standalone street light, there is a difference. Solar panel is kept separate, and the battery is integrated into the light.

    • All-in-one solar street light

In all-in-one solar street lights, an inbuilt battery, solar LED light and sensor are placed in a single frame. As a result, the design of this solar street lighting system is compact. You can easily install it.

How Does a Solar Street Light Work?

Solar street lighting system functions based on the principle of photovoltaic effect. In simple words, solar street lights make use of sunlight to generate electricity. But it doesn’t stop there. During the day, the photovoltaic cells absorb and convert sunlight to DC electricity through solar cells. It is used to power up the lamps after sunset. Let us elaborate further.

A solar panel comprises multiple solar cells. Moreover, multiple solar panels are wired with one another to form a solar array. Generally, solar cells are made of crystalline silicon, which produces positively charged spaces and negatively charged electrons. Photons released by sunlight hit the electrons, which move them into the positively charged spaces.
As a result, an electrical circuit is formed. Direct electricity is produced whenever electrons move through this circuit.
A solar panel is connected to a battery which stores the electrical energy, as mentioned before. There is a photoreceptor connected to the lamp, which can sense darkness. It begins supplying power to the LED during such times. During dawn, the photoreceptor shuts off the light.
The battery storage backup of the street lighting system is capable of illuminating the streets for 10-12 hours daily.

Major Benefits of Solar Street Lights

How beneficial is a solar street light? Let’s discuss it:

    • Has a positive effect on the environment

Considering that solar lights use renewable energy, there’s no question of carbon emissions or energy expenditure of traditional lights. Trenching for cables and external power sources is not required. So, environmental disruption doesn’t take place during installation.
The fact that cables and wiring are not required has made it easier to install these lights in environmentally sensitive and remote areas such as archaeological sites and National Parks.

    • Highly cost-effective

Suppose you live in a house and wish to install solar lights within the compound. Remember that this option is highly cost-effective because your monthly electric bill will be very less. It can even be nil. As a result, you can save a lot of money and develop an emergency corpus.
Solar lights produce more light, use much less energy and last for nearly seven times as long as high-pressure sodium and conventional incandescent lights.

    • Makes use of smarter technology

In almost every solar street lamp, the source of light is a light-emitting diode (LED). It is solid-state lighting, which is much more energy-efficient than conventional lighting technologies. Moreover, it performs better even in the fields of versatility, colour quality, lifetime and cost-effectiveness.
Operators of solar street lighting systems make use of smart technology to accumulate data regarding the temperature, energy consumption and efficiency of every fixture. Lighting schedules can also be configured. High-end technology also informs them about any lack of connectivity or any issues regarding the light source in real time.

    • Has an increased lifespan

Usually, solar-powered street lights have a lifespan which ranges from 15.000 to 50,000 hours. This feature makes it a better option when compared to conventional sources of street lights.
The lifespan of a conventional source of street light ranges from 2000 to 29,000 hours. Such light sources include fluorescent, incandescent, metal halide, mercury vapour and high-pressure sodium lights.

    • It’s highly reliable

An important advantage of solar-powered street lights is that this source of light can work all night. So, irrespective of whether there is power-outages, grid failures or power cuts due to earthquakes and other natural disasters, the lights will keep working.
This is a major point of difference with grid-dependent conventional street lights.

    • Quick and simple installation procedure

Modern solar street lights are much easier to install. Their in-built solar panels, motion sensors, batteries and control modules facilitate a quick and simple installation procedure.
Another factor that has contributed to simpler installation procedures is that trenching is not required for power lines. Moreover, power infrastructure construction is not required, which has contributed to quicker installation.

    • Reduces insect swarming

An important point to take into account is that insects make use of ultraviolet light and light in the infrared spectrum for navigation purposes. They also use such light sources for locating their food.
But, most LED lights emit minimum light in the LED spectrum, which makes solar lights less attractive to insects compared to conventional lights. Therefore, such lights greatly reduce insect swarming.

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Limitations of Installing Solar Street Lights

Solar street lights indeed have immense benefits. But you need to know about its limitations as well.

Check the points given below:

i) The initial investment of installing solar street lights is much higher when compared to conventional street lights.

ii) Energy production can be hampered if snow, dust or moisture accumulates on solar panels.

iii) The cost of equipment is high. As a result, there is a high risk of theft.

iv) You may have to replace the rechargeable batteries quite a few times during the lifetime of the fixtures. It will add up to the overall lifetime cost of the solar-powered street lights.

Cleaning Solar Street Lights: Is it a Problem?

There are no rules regarding how often you should clean solar panels. It depends entirely on the situation. But, experts recommend cleaning it once every six months to ensure efficiency.
The process of cleaning solar street lights in India can be quite a challenging process. Let us analyse some of the problems related to cleaning of solar lights.

    • Height and accessibility

Usually, solar street lights are installed at a certain height to cover a large area. As a result, it is difficult to reach them for cleaning purposes. Often, special ladders or scaffolding is used. But this specialised equipment increases the overall costs.

    • Dust and pollution

Dust and pollutants can accumulate on solar panels and can reduce their efficiency. It can decrease the amount of electricity generated, which can further reduce the lighting capacity of the solar street light.

    • Safety concerns

This is an important point to consider. Cleaning solar panels located at a great height can cause accidents. This is an important issue in heavily congested areas. There is always a risk of electrocution or a fall which can lead to fatal accidents.

    • Technical expertise

It requires a lot of expertise to clean up solar street lighting systems. The components are delicate and need to be handled with care. Furthermore, cleaning with the wrong solutions or incorrect procedures can reduce the lifespan of the lighting system.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing Solar Street Lights

Here are some of the factors you must check before buying solar street lights for installation within your residential property:

    • Light source

Suppose you go to a dealer to buy solar lights. They’ll ask you whether you wish to buy LED lamps, energy-saving lamps, induction lamps or sodium lamps. Many experts state that the LED lamp is the best among all of these options.
You can get smart solar-powered LED lights which are powered by higher lumens. Furthermore, they use up much less energy. Don’t forget that LED lights make the process of integrating solar power simple and easier.

    • Type of battery

Generally, solar street lights are powered by either lithium batteries or lead-acid batteries. People who have been researching solar lights have stated that lithium batteries are better. There are a few reasons behind it.
Lithium batteries have a longer lifespan, a strong resistance to temperature and a battery capacity to generate lighting efficiency. Their charge and discharge times are three times more than that of lead batteries.

    • Heat dissipation performance

This is an important factor in determining how the LED solar street light will perform. Heat dissipation is nothing but a transfer of heat. It also denotes loss of heat due to undesirable effects. If heat dissipation is not satisfactory, the lifespan of the street light gets negatively affected.
To address this problem, you can consider purchasing anti-ultraviolet and fireproof LED street lights. It will facilitate better heat dissipation.

    • Illumination levels

Don’t forget to check the details of foot candles when you purchase solar street lamps because they indicate the illumination on the ground. The ideal ‘bright and dark ratio’ is 4:1. However, a minimum ratio of 3:1 is good as well.
Don’t forget to take into consideration colour temperature, which is measured in Kelvin.

    • Temperature of black lamp housing

Black-coloured street lights absorb more heat compared to light-coloured lamps. For instance, the temperature of the metal in a black-coloured solar lamp can reach up to 90 degrees Celsius under exposure. Needless to say, such high temperatures will lead to destruction of both battery and LED light sources.
So, it is much better to opt for a light-coloured lamp which will not absorb heat or fade away when it’s placed outdoors.

    • Temperature and latitude

Suppose you live in a city where the latitude is higher than 15 degrees. Here, the sun’s inclination level with the ground will be greater than 15 degrees as well. So, opt for a solar street lighting system with adjustable solar panels.
Make sure that the panels of the solar street light installed on either side of a road must not face away from the sun.

Solar Street Light Prices in India in 2023

Do you wish to purchase solar street lights to light up the surroundings of your residential property? Then, you might be wondering about the prices of the best quality solar street lights in India.

Let us check the solar street light prices in India in 2023:

    • Epyz Plastic 30-Watt Solar Street Light

The price of this solar street light is ₹2,932. It is undoubtedly one of the best solar lights in India. It keeps its surroundings brilliantly lit all the time. The LED bulbs used in this solar light illuminate the area in a much better way than traditional street lights. It comprises a 4500mAh LiFePO4 battery. Epyz Plastic 30-Watt solar light can convert up to 20% of sunlight to electrical energy.

    • Hardoll 15W Solar Pillar Lights

The price of Hardoll 15W solar pillar lights is ₹2,491. It is a high-quality solar street light which can illuminate its surroundings effectively. You can also use it as a solar lamp. An important feature of this solar light is that it does not need any electrical connection or batteries. It runs completely on solar power. You can consider buying this solar light as it promises good performance at an affordable price.

    • Homehop 30W All-in-One Solar Street Light

The price of this solar street light is ₹1,899. You can use it both as a street lamp and as a lamp for your room. Homehop 30W all-in-one solar street light is an integrated solar light for outdoors which has 56-chipset LEDs, designed specially to provide continuous lighting for 1 – 3 days. An added benefit is that installing this solar street light is quite easy. You will not require any special finish or fittings.

    • Aarmee Solar Powered ABS Plastic Street Light

This solar street lighting system is priced at ₹3,989. It is a 90W LED-powered street light running solely on solar energy. It beautifully illuminates its surroundings which is especially helpful during nighttime. You can consider installing this solar light if anyone in your family has to return late at night or if you frequently venture out after dark.

    • Goyal All-in-One 60 watts Solar LED Street Light

The price of this high-quality and premium solar street light is ₹3,120. It is a rectangular-shaped product covered with high-grade and water-proof plastic. It comes with 60W LED bulbs which ensure the high performance of this product. If you wish to buy a solar light for your campus or colony, you can consider this option.

    • Aarmee Solar Street Light 60 watts LED Power

The price of this solar light is ₹3,014. The brand Aarmee manufactures high-quality solar lights. This particular product comes with a 60W LED power light and runs entirely on solar energy. It doesn’t require any electricity or battery to operate. All you need to do is install the product and switch it on.

    • Quttel Solar Light

Quttel solar light is priced at ₹400. The design of this product makes it quite different from the rest of the products mentioned above. It doesn’t need a pole for installation. You can easily mount it on your garden or boundary wall. The placement of the LED bulbs inside the solar light is unique and ensures a good throw of light.

Solar Street Light Manufacturers in India 2023

Now that we have explored the prices of individual solar lights let’s turn our glances to solar street light manufacturers.

Some of the prominent solar street light manufacturers in India are listed below:

    • Usha Solar India
    • Omega Solar
    • Philips
    • BM Sun Power Technologies
    • Havells
    • Tata Power Solar
    • SolMitra Power
    • Fevino Industries
    • Intelizon
    • Lokozo Technologies
    • Su-kam

Have you been wondering about what are the factors you need to look at to choose the best solar street light in India? Check the product quality, warranty, reliability, installation support and after-sales services of a company. Only after evaluating these factors should you make your decision.

Solar Street Light Projects in India

Government of India (GoI) repeatedly emphasises the usage of renewable energy. As a result, its technology is gradually becoming advanced and quite accessible.
India has a strong potential for solar power. The increasing demand for clean energy is making the state and its institutions turn to solar energy for its electricity needs.
GoI and various private organisations have begun promoting the use of solar energy actively, which is why the future of solar street lights in our country is quite bright.

Details of some of the noteworthy solar street light projects in India are as follows:

    • The Solar City Program

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, undertook this initiative to promote the usage of solar energy in cities all over the country. Solar street lights are being installed in various cities such as Chandigarh, Nagpur and Kolkata as an integral part of this project.

    • Smart Cities Mission

It is an important flagship programme undertaken by GoI. Through this programme, the Government of India will improve the infrastructural development of various Tier II cities across the country. Installation of solar street lights is an important part of this programme. Apart from improving outdoor lighting after dark, it helps to bring down energy costs.

    • Atal Jyoti Yojana

It is an initiative by the Ministry of Power, Government of India. The primary aim of Atal Jyoti Yojana is to provide solar lights in those areas which have no access to electricity. As an important part of this scheme, solar street lights have been installed in remote tribal areas and villages throughout the country.

    • Off-Grid and Decentralised Solar Application Scheme

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has come up with a program called Off-Grid and Decentralised Solar Application Scheme to promote the usage of solar energy in rural areas. Upon successful implementation of this scheme, many rural areas in our country have become well-equipped with solar street lights. It has improved safety and security considerably.

Solar Street Lights in India: A Brief Analysis

Solar street lights are the most sustainable and efficient street lighting option in India. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is supporting the installation of solar street lights all across the length and breadth of the country. Through the scheme called Atal Jyoti Yojana, the GoI wishes to light up every dark area of the country.
The Central Government has entrusted Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) to successfully implement the scheme. Phase 1 of this scheme was implemented from September 2016 to March 2018. Phase 2 implementation took place between 2018 – 2019 and 2019 – 2020.

Let us analyse Phase 1 and Phase 2 briefly
    • Phase 1

Rural, semi-rural and urban areas in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha and Assam, which experience less than 50% grid connectivity, were lit with 7 W solar LED street lights. These lights were installed in markets, important roads and public areas for the benefit of citizens.

    • Phase 2

Solar street lights were installed in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, and certain north-eastern states, including Sikkim, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar islands. Apart from these areas, parliamentary constituencies covering nearly 48 aspirational districts of states were also covered.
The total cost of this scheme was Rs.583 crore. MNRE contributed 75% of the total cost, while the remaining 25% was provided by the Member of Parliament Local Area Development funds (MPLADs).
As per official reports, more than Rs. 7.4 lakh solar street lights were installed in India as of July 2020.

How Have Solar Street Lights Benefitted Indian Villages?

Solar street lights have improved the quality of life in Indian villages significantly. Previously, people in rural areas of almost all parts of the country never ventured out after sunset. They had valid reasons to stay indoors. After all, there were no street lights. Often, wild animals would venture out into the local hamlets. It made residents panic and remain indoors.
There were sociological problems as well. Lack of street lights increases crime activities as it gives a free pass to criminals.

But with the introduction of solar street lights, life has improved considerably:

    • Improved safety and security

People, especially women, are no longer afraid to venture out after dark. Also, solar-powered street lights have reduced human-animal conflicts and have brought down the risks of lethal mishaps.

    • Highly cost-effective

Solar street lights last longer than conventional street lights, which makes them a highly cost-effective option. Moreover, people don’t have to replace it frequently.

    • Maintenance is not a concern

Solar-powered street lights don’t require any electrical connections or wiring and can be installed pretty quickly. Considering that there are no breakable moving parts, the maintenance cost is quite low. As a result, it is an ideal option for rural areas where a skilled electrician is not always present.

    • Saves the environment

A solar street light is quite an eco-friendly solution when compared to conventional lighting systems, which emit harmful greenhouse gases and lead to pollution. Solar street lights have a much lower carbon footprint and are an environmentally sustainable lighting option.

    • It contributes to the economy

Installation of solar street lights in rural areas will improve the prospect of small-scale businesses. People can continue working even after sunset. Moreover, the value of properties will increase considerably if solar lights are located nearby. Increased scope of continuing business after sunset will generate multiple employment opportunities.

How Have Solar Street Lights Benefitted Women in India?

Women have always suffered due to a lack of energy access, not just in India but throughout the world. It has resulted in their lack of education and economic development which has deepened the gap in gender equality.
However, solar power has improved women’s access to energy, which has, in turn, contributed positively to ensuring gender equality in India. Women, especially in rural areas, don’t have to rely on natural light to complete their daily tasks. In many cases, they are utilising the freed-up time to educate themselves or work to improve their overall economic condition.
Installation of solar street lights has, needless to say, improved the condition of women’s safety in public areas. Women feel safer walking along well-lit public areas and can safely return home from work or venture out after dark to go to the markets.
Young women can travel safely for tuition or other part-time work to support their families. Moreover, there was a spurt in all kinds of economic activities along well-lit roads. For example, many women have started selling homemade nutritious food for people returning from office.
The fact that areas are well-illuminated with solar street lights has given these women the courage to undertake such commercial activities in these regions.
We should pause here and note the positive impact solar lights have had on children from backward families. Earlier, in the absence of electricity, they couldn’t study at home or complete their homework. But, with the advent of solar lights, they can continue studying without disruption. Often, they make use of solar street lights for completing their homework at night.

Conclusion

The Government of India is actively promoting the usage of solar street lights in the country through various schemes. Apart from reducing pollution levels, solar lights have significantly improved the lives of citizens, especially women in both rural and urban areas. People can now venture out confidently after dark and can even perform economic activities till late into the night.
Frequent power cuts threaten to disrupt daily lives of residents, but solar lights are an effective solution. There are many households in rural parts of the country which don’t have electricity yet. Lack of energy access has contributed to poor quality of life. However, usage of solar-powered devices can change the situation for the better. All that is needed is more awareness of its benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Direct sunlight charges the solar batteries at a faster pace. It’s true that the performance of a solar street light is much better when it receives direct sunlight throughout the day. But rest assured that solar lights will work on not-so-sunny days as well. Remember that there is never absolute darkness during cloudy and rainy seasons. It ensures the panels keep getting charged.

Generally, the components used to make a solar street light have a large shelf-life. LED bulbs used in these lights have a shelf life of nearly 50,000 hours. Moreover, solar panels have a life expectancy of around 25 years. Remember that if you take good care of your solar lights, they might even last longer.

Certain solar lights have the ‘switch off’ option inbuilt in them. But solar lights generally don’t have this option because charging and discharging are much better for longer battery life.

Generally, distributors deliver solar lights which are fully charged. These lights start working from the first night of installation itself. Solar lights don’t work during the day. These lights need to get charged by direct sunlight throughout the day for optimum usage after sunset.

Actually, municipalities take the decision to install street lights. Moreover, the cost of powering up all street lights with solar energy is huge. However, the Government of India is taking active measures to install solar street lights. Its focus on developing eco-friendly smart cities is driving the demand for solar lights in India.

Solar street lights should be installed in both rural and urban areas in India. It improves the quality of living significantly. Apart from reducing the pollution level, it makes it safer for women to travel and undertake economic activities after sunset. In rural areas, it has reduced the risk of human-animal conflicts.

The main challenge of installing solar street lights in villages is a lack of awareness. Convincing villagers of the benefits of such lights is a tiresome procedure. The high initial cost is another significant challenge. However, with the Government of India offering subsidies, people can tackle the second challenge easily.

Apart from solar street lights, there are many other objects which have significantly improved the quality of people’s lives in India. Women in rural areas use solar charkhas, which contribute to their sustainable economic development. Solar lanterns and lamps have also helped households which lacked electricity.

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