In this blog post, TMR answers three critical questions about the solar street lighting market:
What is leading to the higher adoption of SSL and boosting the market?
The tubular batteries provided with a solar street lighting unit are high performance and long-life batteries that encourage higher adoption. Solar street lighting units provide a viable solution to street lighting in any terrain irrespective of the availability of grid connectivity in that location. SSL units reduce the energy load on the economy leading to more fiscal savings for both the government as well as the tax payers. The negligible maintenance it requires is also leading to a positive response and increasing use of solar street lighting units to illuminate streets and roads. Moreover, they entail no wiring or transformer costs. They also help in reducing the carbon footprint and subsequently, various governments are promoting its adoption, which is expected to bring about a positive impact on the SSL market.
If SSL has so many benefits, why don’t we see more of these units being adopted?
Yes, SSL has various advantages, but despite all the benefits, this technology is yet to become popular worldwide. For sizeable penetration of SSL technology to take place, it will take some time as the technology is relatively new and not many are aware of its benefits. The technology is still in an innovative phase and standardization has not yet been achieved. Since the technology is yet to make an impact in many countries owing to the lack of proper design and standardization, it will be a few years before solar street lighting is used on a large scale, but when it does, it will sure create a wealth of opportunities in the market. One of the prime reasons why it will be challenging to adopt this technology across the globe is the fact that not every region experiences ample sunlight, and SSL as we know, needs sunlight for its functioning.
Where are solar street lighting units currently in use? What are the recent developments in the field?
Solar street lighting is being implemented extensively in Asia Pacific region, especially in China and India. Countries in North America have successfully implemented this system in many of the county-level projects in the southern states of the U.S. The European cities, too, have adopted the technology to a certain level.
Solar Street Lights USA is a key player in this space. The company has successfully engineered solar street lighting systems that are used in roadways, parking lots, pathways, perimeter fence lighting, remote bathrooms and rest stops, and high-risk or dark areas. The company makes use of the latest LED technology.
Philips has developed Solar Gen2, the world’s most efficient and cost effective LED street lighting solution, which is powered by solar energy. Solar Gen2 is valuable for towns and cities near the equator, thereby making use of the sunlight that is received for many hours, supplementing the capacity of conventional electricity grid. Solar Gen2 can light up the lives of the 1.6 bn people living in rural areas who are deprived of electricity.
The Danish Outdoor Lighting Lab (DOLL) has opened a new test facility wherein the latest designs of city street lights are tested. With an aim to power lights with solar energy and also by windmills, DOLL has come up with lights that are rectangle, square, circle and halo shaped.
Researchers in Spain have developed street lamps by integrating solar and wind turbine technology, which is 20% cheaper than the current street lighting systems. The potential to take streetlights off conventional grid and replacing them with the green and energy efficient street lights is appealing politicians, city planners, and businesses.