If you have ever felt betrayed by the solar street lights you just installed, please raise your hand.
The lights ought to come on as night falls, but they remain off. You might be cursing yourself right now for being enthusiastic about solar energy and its applications.
When you purchase a solar street light, this is exactly what happens eventually. You are presented with a slew of numbers and calculations by the company’s sales department, who claim that their solar street light model is ideal for your use. They also tell you that if bad weather occurs, it will have five or more days of autonomy, which is just a fancy way of saying it will be or stay operational.
What’s that? Except for those of you who are located near the equator, 99 percent of the time, you will not have the autonomy that was promised to you, and you will feel that the money you have invested in solar street lighting has been misappropriated.
We have exciting news for you! With remote management control and monitoring, it is now more than ever possible to achieve 365 days of autonomy with your solar street light thanks to advances in technology.
In this blog post, we will explain the fundamentals of smart solar street light technology, how it works, and what you need to know so that you can make the right purchase the next time. Ready? Let’s begin.
The Basics of Smart Solar Street Lighting
• The History of Solar Street Lighting We’ll start with the fundamentals. In order for each solar street light to work, what essential components are required? Let’s look:
•Solar Panel •Battery
•Solar Charger Controller/Inverter (depending on system voltage)
•LED Light •Interconnected cables
•Pole In this blog post, we will assume that you are familiar with the fundamental configurations of the solar panel, battery, and led light.
We will then concentrate on additional components that you need to be aware of in order to make solar street lights intelligent but primarily functional. However, if you are unsure, refer to this article for additional information tailored to your requirements.
• The Future of Smart Solar Street Lighting: How Can We Make It Smart? In fact, once you know which components to use, it’s not that hard. Let’s look:
• Smart off-grid controller (there is also an on-grid solution, but we will only discuss off-grid for simplicity’s sake)
• Motion Sensor • Temperature probe
• Software solution Smart off-grid controller The magic begins when you replace your conventional solar charger controller with the smart one. The smart solar charger controller has the same functions as the regular one, but it has built-in communication protocols that allow for remote control and monitoring (for more information on this topic, check out this article). By doing this, you have given your street light options for communication, and you can now use an application on a desktop, mobile, or tablet to control it remotely from anywhere.
Temperature probe and motion sensor
In addition, once the system’s brain has been established, we only need to add a few sensors to make it really smart and able to provide lighting when we need it.
Because it is used to provide lighting when movement is detected, a motion sensor is an essential component of the system. In contrast, we must install a temperature sensor (probe) in order to determine the battery’s temperature and maximize its performance in order to extend the battery’s lifecycle. Since it is the most costly component, we will talk more about battery optimization in the following blog session. It is sufficient for the time being to be aware that battery performance can be improved, thereby reducing future maintenance costs.
Software solution Last but not least, after you have installed all of the parts of the system, you need a software solution that lets you monitor and control each solar street light in real-time.
We’ll show you how to use a software solution in the next section to make solar street lights work all year long and always have lights on when you need them.
• Control and manage your lights from a distance Here comes the most exciting part, so let’s get started.
We can observe the parameters, alter them, and adapt to various conditions and circumstances once we have real-time remote control and monitoring over the system, regardless of where the smart solar street light is located. Furthermore, nothing can surprise you or your system if you can predict what will occur in the future (weather prediction).
Data communication and a cloud-based solution
The smart solar charger controller sends data to the cloud service in real time. Solar panel voltage and current readings, load ports (in our case, a LED light), and battery temperature are all captured data. Additionally, more than 24 distinct indicators are sent to the cloud to monitor controller-managed services. In order to facilitate ongoing support, maintenance, and troubleshooting, this data is stored in the Cloud.
Detecting movement With motion sensors and dimming functionality installed on each pole, we will have light on demand during critical times and save energy when full light performance is not really required. For instance, by installing motion sensors on a portion of the city’s street light network, Barcelona was able to save between 2 and 3 billion euros on electricity.
Next, a software application makes it simple to set up and change lighting profiles for smart solar street lights that automatically adjust to the time of day. For instance, if you are aware that the peak pedestrian frequency occurs between 8 and 11 p.m., you will adjust the brightness to reflect 100% of the light. However, since you are aware that pedestrians rarely pass by after midnight, you would turn on the motion sensor and reduce the lighting by 40%. Just so you know, when you dim led lights from 100% to 40%, your eye would not even notice the difference. Once someone passes by, the lights would go to 100% brightness (you can even adjust how long the light will stay on 100% once pedestrian traffic occurs). As a result, you save 60% on energy costs while maintaining the same level of light for pedestrians. You can see it in action in this video.
The most important thing is to predict the weather. Without knowing what will happen in the future, you wouldn’t be able to get the most out of your energy right now. Let me give you an illustration: If we know that there will be rain and no sun for the next five days, we would turn off our smart solar system’s lighting and save a lot of energy to keep it running. In addition, we can return to 100% lighting performance when the bad weather is over and sunny conditions are anticipated. Because of this, your software needs to have weather predictability and smart algorithms so that you can predict what will happen in the future and get the most out of your current energy levels.
In conclusion, solar street lights have not yet been widely used as a viable alternative to conventional streetlights because they do not provide a dependable source of illumination. With the help of cutting-edge technology, we are now able to transform solar street lights into a standardized lighting solution, putting an end to their shady reputation from the past.