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Is solar lighting right for your business?

Author: Richard Bevan
Published: April 30, 2018

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With summer just around the corner, there’s no better time for businesses to consider utilising solar lighting.

Powered by daylight

Solar lighting utilises energy from the sun, making it the most energy efficient lighting source available. Natural daylight is absorbed via a panel and then converted into an electrical current and stored in a rechargeable battery. As a result, solar lights are free to operate, enabling businesses to reap the rewards through reduced energy bills.

In addition to cheaper energy bills, businesses that make the switch to solar lighting are also able to reduce their carbon footprint and environmental impact. This can create a positive public statement about the organisation to customers and employees, showcasing the company-wide commitment to caring for the future of the local community and the rest of the planet.

Many solar light fittings have built in sensors, further improving their efficiency. For example, a dusk to dawn solar light will only turn on at dusk when night falls, and then switch itself off again at dawn when sunlight is detected. Others have PIR motion sensor technology and will only activate when motion is detected - ideal for low footfall areas, or improving nighttime security.

Tamara Solar LED Outdoor Wall Light with PIR Sensor

Solar lights are incredibly flexible and mobile, making them an ideal option for positioning in hard-to-reach areas, out buildings, environmentally protected land, locations that are far removed from existing electrical connections, or areas where no grid infrastructure exists. Furthermore, barriers such as tree roots, underground utilities, or other obstacles that may cause issues for trenching standard electric lighting cables are not an issue for solar lights. If a time comes when the lights are no longer needed, they can be also be packed away easily, with minimal disruption. There is a solar light fixture to meet every business’s outdoor lighting requirements, including:

    • Illuminating spaces - Solar lights are able to provide many of the practical benefits of hard wired lights, without needing an electrician to come and install them. Whether a light is needed for illuminating walkways, pathways, or signage, there are many styles to choose from.
    • Improving security - Solar security lights come in a wide range of styles, including flood lights, motion sensor (PIR) lights, and dusk to dawn lights.

Lutec Sunshine LED Solar Floodlight with PIR Sensor

  • Adding atmosphere - Decorative solar powered lighting such as spotlights, fairy lights, feature lights, and festoons, can completely transform the appearance and ambience of any outdoor space.

Cole and Bright Multi Coloured Dual Power Solar LED Festoon Lights

Despite its numerous benefits, solar lighting technology is unable to match the sustained power output of mains lighting.

Although solar energy can still be collected during cloudy and rainy days, the efficiency of the solar panel can drop due to the fact that solar lights require quality natural daylight to charge fully. Light output can therefore be significantly impacted by weather and seasonality, particularly when there is less daylight to absorb during the winter months. Their efficiency is also affected by their positioning and something as simple as an obstacle casting shadow, a fallen leaf, or dirt can all block the solar panel’s cells from the sun, and therefore limit a battery’s ability to charge fully.

Additionally, while some solar lights boast up to 12 hours of illumination from a single charge, a battery recharge will always be inevitable at some point. For this reason, solar lights aren’t always suitable for settings where round the clock illumination is needed.

Installing solar lighting within a commercial environment can offer a number of benefits to an organisation’s bottom line, the environment, and the company’s reputation. For advice on selecting solar light products for your business, contact our Technical Advice team here.