How to Design and Size a Solar Lighting System
- • Geographic Location: Different geographic locations have different solar insolation which determines the size of the required solar panels
- • The Application: Different applications need different amounts of light
- • Light Level Requirement (if any): Different light level requirements may be required by city or county codes and will depend upon the pedestrian or vehicle usage of the project.
- • Run Time (Duration of the Load): Number of hours you need the lights to be on each night. Examples: Dusk to Dawn, 12 hours, 6 hours, or one of our split time controllers (6/2 or 4/2 – 6 or 4 hours after dusk & 2 hours before dawn), etc.
- • Sun Hours based on your location: Different geographic locations have different solar insolation (sun hour factor) which will determine the size of the solar panel(s) needed.
- • The Light Output: Based on the amount of light you need for your particular application or specific footcandle requirement on the ground
- • The Size of the Required Solar Panels: Solar panels typically come in a variety of sizes. We always calculate a reserve and round up to the next higher panel size.
- • The Model – Flat Solar Panel Array or Tilted Solar Panel Array: Based on your particular parameters, we can recommend which system will be more cost effective.
- • The Size and Number of Batteries:
- • Our systems are typically sized with 5 days battery back-up.
- • Our Power Management feature monitors battery voltage and adjusts accordingly (LED models only)
- • Additional battery back-up can be added if needed.
- • The most suitable Fixture style: Cobrahead or Shoebox -- Drop lens or cut off lens are available.
- • Optimal mounting height, pole spacing and placement, to match your specified light requirements.
Performance of Solar Lighting Systems
The performance of solar lighting systems measure in foot-candles or lux on the ground.
These are influenced by:
- • Type of light source
- • Reflector
- • Refractor or Lens
- • Pole Height
- • Spacing of Poles
How to Scrutinize Projects for Viability
- • Common Sense - Avoid Shaded Areas: Solar panels need the sun. In heavily shaded areas, solar arrays can be mounted remotely to gain access to sun. Be sure there is a clear southern sun exposure (live north of equator) or clear northern sun exposure (live south of the equator).
- • Check any lighting level requirements
- • Evaluate Required Operation Time(s): The longer a light needs to stay on, the larger the system, and subsequently the more expensive it is.
- • Determine Reliability/Security Issues: If security lighting is critical, our full dusk to dawn calculates your longest night in December (northern hemisphere) or June (southern hemisphere).