How Solar Panels Can Be Utilised In Order to Recharge LED Lights


Project Outline

Electricity used for street lighting consumes excessive amounts of energy due to the use of HD lamps. As a result, solar LED lights are proposed as alternative forms of street lighting that will conserve energy by reduce consumption (Ma., 2013). Solar panels act as environmentally friendly energy sources which supply high-intensity LED output. Therefore the solar energy system will reduce the amount of finance invested in electric energy, while providing reliable and environmentally friendly energy. However, it is important to understand how solar energy power can be conserved and utilized during seasons when it is cloudy, rainy or lack enough sun to energize the solar panels. This will not only ensure that people have adequate amounts of power for daily use throughout the seasons but will also assist them in regulating how they consume energy (Shiquan, 2012).

Solar LED street lighting project will introduce technology and engineering solutions. Compared with high-pressure sodium and metal halide luminaries, solar LED luminaries are more energy efficient due to their long life and reduced maintenance costs. This project offers engineers with the opportunity to advocate for optical control in street lighting through uniform lighting and improve safety and security to the community by reproducing effective color lighting for sharper details. Moreover, it offers the possibility of the increased use of sensors and controls to manage lighting intensity which results to reduced energy consumption (Tennakoon et al., 2000).

Objective and Scope

The main aims of this project include:

Increase even and efficient distribution of power with quality lighting. Storing solar energy in batteries and efficient control of sensors will improve energy efficiency by at least 40%.

Reduce energy consumption through energy savings by measuring energy input and output and reduce greenhouse gas emission.

Minimize power outages and increase lighting life span which will reduce the maintenance costs by at least 50%.

According to Davis et al., (2003) solar LED street lighting project will upgrade street lights by retrofitting or replacing existing LED lights to improve energy saving to 40%, reduce maintenance costs by 50% and provide appropriate lighting levels. Therefore the design of the project focuses on implementing a renewable-energy-based system that lowers energy consumption. Solar energy is available and can be integrated into the power grid. The photovoltaic cells found in solar panel cells, absorb energy that can be stored and converted into power to produce constant voltages as a means to maintain a continuous power supply. The variable output from solar panels can be converted and used for present and future needs thus improving on energy conservation (Bollinger, 2007).

Yongqing (2009) explains that solar LED street lighting has significant effects on energy saving and also contributes to the health and economic development of a city. Solar LED street lighting is assumed to improve the economic status of a community or municipality by reducing the energy costs (Symanski, 2004). The optimal range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technology, demonstrate a unique contribution to the government and the society (Barbosa et al., 1998). The projects provide communities with an opportunity to have access to sustainable and reliable energy supply that is environmentally friendly and a relatively low cost. Power cells such as batteries will ensure that solar energy is stored for future use especially during seasons when it is less sunny. Additionally, sensor controls will regulate energy output and input thus minimizing power shortage and reduce maintenance costs (Tennakoon, 2000).


Lo et al., (2006) affirms that the solar LED street lights do not require any specific management and control approaches since a transmission route or line for the cable is unnecessary. The installation of these street lights can be achieved in the entire public space such as; parking lots, highways, or the square. Thus the development of these LED lights is related to global urbanization, efficiency, environmental conservation and long-life solar LED lights (Harrington, 1995). The methods used for the development of the project focuses on energy conservation for present and future use.

According to Bollinger (2007), an effective LED street lighting system is one that is characterized with high efficiency, long-life, energy-saving, environmentally friendly with a high color rendering index. Therefore, for this project data shall be collected based on the number of areas to be lighted which will be measured in square feet, with the solar cells not exceeding 5ft by 2ft. The number of street lights to be replaced by solar LED Street light will be counted whereby this data shall be used as a guide to understand how much equipment and resources are needed. Additionally, the number of public places that require solar LED lighting for their billboards shall be counted and included in the implementation plan.

To conserve energy, each street light device will be installed to operate on one batter <24V, the battery will be recharging itself to enable the lights work on a 24hr system. The Solar panels will rotate ≥ 90 degrees and will face the direction with optimal sunlight. The light detector sensors will be at an ambient brightness of 10 and 1000 lux whereby illumination can be adjust to minimum lighting during the day and maximum in darkness. The systems are designed to withstand 40 mph wind speeds and 70% humidity to ensure that the street lights can endure harsh weather and reduce repairs. For safety purposes, the solar LED street lights will produce at least 10 lux for complete pedestrian lighting on sidewalks (Ishengoma and Norum, 2002)

Strategies and Resources

The design of the solar LED street light system will require an autonomous street light software solution without any underground cables, trenching and easy for installing. Programmable drivers and LED lamps with solar panels will be required this will ensure that light is controlled and avoid spillage or light pollution (Hussein et al., 1995). These resources are easily accessible and can be purchased from distributing and manufacturing companies. LED lights can be integrated with motion detectors to calculate the street light system functions and save on energy consumption. Interconnecting cables, poles, rechargeable batteries and controllers are also mandatory for this system to function efficiently without trenching or distributing lines (Hua and Ku, 2005).

The solar panels being the most important parts of the project will be purchased from a manufacturing company. The solar panels purchased will have two types of cells including, the poly crystalline and mono crystalline photovoltaic cells. Each solar panel shall be strategically placed depending on the performance of the cells to convert solar energy into electricity and distribute it. Additionally, the electric connections in this project shall be achieved by connecting them in series to accomplish an output voltage and act as a source by providing the current facility connections done in parallel. Majority of the modules installed will involve the use of silicon or water based crystalline silicon.

Modern solar LED street lights depend on LEDs as the main lighting sources as it provides bright light with reduced energy consumption. The energy consumption of LED fixtures is lower compared to that of HPS fixtures which makes LEDs more suitable for Solar street lighting. Moreover the LEDs lamps are preferred as they emit more light to all directions compared to traditional street light bulbs. LEDs offer unique and consumer friendly advantages due to their directional design of lamps. For instance the output of one LEDs is less compared to other lamps such as incandescent and fluorescent lamps, whereby a set of LEDs distribute more light than these two. LEDs lights are preferable for this project since they have few to zero UV emissions, offer long life, durability, and are eco-friendly (Yuvarajan and XU, 2003).

The rechargeable batteries used for this project will be electrical battery accumulators with reversible electro mechanical reactions, thus acts as a secondary cell. Two types of batteries used will be lead acid battery and the gel cell deep cycle battery. In the solar LED street light, the rechargeable battery will be used to store energy for present and future use. The capacity and lifetime of each battery is imperative for the operation of these lights since they will act as backup power generators (Conley, 2004).

The solar panel, LED light and battery box are fixed on street light pole using interconnected cables. The cables for this project include PV modules that run from the controller to the battery and lamps. The cable size and length installed will be dependent on the amount of current moved from the lights and the height of the pole. All the components mentioned shall be integrated to form one system of a complete solar LED light system that solely relies on sunlight energy to light up the LED lamps (Hu and Ku, 2005).

Project Risk Assessment

According to the current circumstances, the foreseeable risks associated with this project include the quality of equipment and available resources. For instance, the quality of LED chips and solar panel cells, heating problems, power driver issues and the lifetime of electronic equipments. Being a developing technology, LED lighting its luminous efficiency varies with cost thus making it challenging to encourage the municipality to replace the traditional high pressure sodium lamps with LED. Despite the long term cost advantages of these Solar LED street lights, the initial installation cost is rather high which scares of the interested parties. As a result the project is slowed down and the deadline may not be achieved.


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