Cost Comparison Between Solar vs. Traditional Lights

As solar lights have increased in popularity over the last 5 years due to emerging green technologies and rising energy costs, an important question is being raised: how much do solar street lights costs compared to traditional street lighting? To solve this mystery, our expert team of engineers gathered the necessary information to provide a cost analysis of each lighting system.

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The Light

Traditional street lighting is defined as any electrical light used for street lighting, which is most commonly metal halide and high pressure sodium lights. The average cost of one light, including the lighting fixture, pole, and base, averages at $1500.

Solar street lights are fixtures that use a solar panel to garner electricity. They are off-grid and can be installed in remote locations. Because of the advanced technology required for solar lights, they are more expensive, averaging about $3000 per light.  

Installation

The biggest difference between the cost of traditional and solar lights lies in the installation.

Traditional lights are connected to a standard electrical grid for their power which requires trenching and underground wiring. When adding in labor fees, this process would cost consumers about $120 per foot. The average cost of installation for traditional lighting would then be around $4500.

Because solar lights are autonomous and off the main grid system, consumers avoid the long and costly process of trenching and wiring. The cost of installation reduces significantly as a result, pricing around $1500.

Maintenance

Solar lights require less maintenance than traditional lighting systems. The typical lifespan for a traditional street light averages around 5,000-8,000 hours, while solar LED lights last 5-7 years.

While solar lights need to be repaired less frequently, the cost of each repair is higher. The battery of a solar light needs to be changed every 5-7 years. The cost of 2 batteries and labor for those changes averages around $1000. This is only slightly higher than the cost of standard lights which is about $800.

Energy Bills

Since solar lights gather their energy from the sun, there are no energy costs! Standard lights, on the other hand, accumulate about $1500 in energy costs over 10 years.

Incentive Programs

Solar lighting systems are also heavily subsidized to encourage the use of green energy. According to the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, there are about 200 financial incentive programs for solar alone. Both the private and public sector offer incentives to use solar, but each entity differs in the amount and type of incentive they provide. For example, North Carolina provides a 35% tax credit against the total cost of the system, while the Federal government offers 30%. For more information on the solar incentives, rebates, tax credits, and grant available, visit http://www.dsireusa.org/.

The Verdict

When comparing the total costs of traditional and solar lighting, there appears to be a clear winner. Overall, solar would cost around $5500 over 10 years, while standard costs a steep $8300. Solar lights save heavily on both upfront installation costs and long term energy costs. 

In the battle of the lighting systems, technology and innovation won. While traditional lighting systems may have won some battles, solar lights won the war.

 

Solar Modules in Winter - Solar Panel Street Lights

Do Solar Panels Work in the Winter?

Unless you are from sunny California or one of its neighboring southern states, you have probably wondered if solar panels work in the winter. Well, good news. Solar panels are powered by light, so they will continue to produce energy if the sun is out even if there 6 inches of snow on the ground.

People who believe that solar panels only work on sunny days are mistaken. Even though they do work better on cloudless days, solar panels are active in most kinds of weather. Since the amount of light available is significantly lower, the amount of electricity produced on cloudy days is reduced as well, usually reaching only about a quarter of the maximum expected amount.

In the conditions of light snow, the effect on the electrical output of the panels should be minimal. Small amounts of snow can slide off fairly easily from their smooth surface. Even if a thin layer of snow sits on the surface, fully covered panels will still produce some electricity since sunlight can still penetrate the panels in a thin layer of snow.  On the other hand, heavy snowfall can have a more detrimental effect on the solar panels and electricity production. Simply put, snow is heavy. If a lot of it falls on a panel, the sheer weight of it can damage the panel and cause malfunctions. On fixtures without frames, snow usually slides off without much problem, so it never accumulates and has little effect on the panel.

Contrary to popular belief, snow actually helps solar panels. Think to your windshield in a snowstorm. Once the snow is removed, your windshield is left squeaky clean because any dirt that was previously on the surface is now wiped clean. The exact same thing happens with solar panels. Once the snow melts or falls off the panel, it leaves it very clean, and cleaner panels absorb more sunlight.

When evaluating your solar needs, the best approach would be to calculate how much sun you can expect over the course of the year, not a gray winter day. Regions which experience harsh winters can have a good amount of sun through the year, which makes them good candidates for solar power.

 

Solar Panels - commercial solar lights

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Over the last 10 years, the rapid growth of the solar industry has demanded attention. Large agencies such as Tesla and the European Union are embracing solar as the wave of the future.From solar panels on rooftops to commercial solar street lights, the solar industry demands attention.

With all this talk about solar, have you ever wondered how a solar panel actually worked? Here’s a little introduction on what solar panels are and how they work.

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Installation Tips for Solar Powered Lights

Solar Powered Street Lights for SaleSolar lighting has become available to everyone. Homeowners and businesses interested in reducing their energy consumption, maintenance costs, and energy bills are going solar because of it s sound investment. Also, the initial costs can be reduced by looking for high-quality solar powered street lights for sale.

There are, however, several things to watch out for in order to make the most out of solar outdoor lighting. Here are a few guidelines on how to safeguard your off-grid solar outdoor lighting against failure.

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