Solar-powered streetlights: views, manufacturers overview and comparison
Recently, solar-powered street lights have become widespread, combining efficiency and attractive design. Such models are used not only as a source of artificial light, but also for landscape decoration - decorating the courtyard or summer cottage.
We will introduce the principle of operation and the device of street lighting devices, the operation of which is based on the use of sunlight. Our article lists the leading manufacturers whose products are in high demand. Recommendations on the operation, extending the working resource, are given.
The content of the article:
- Device and principle of operation
- Pros and cons of solar powered appliances
- Types of solar-powered luminaires
- Well-known manufacturers of solar lamps
- Solar lamp care
- Troubleshooting Solar Devices
- What to look for when choosing
- Conclusions and useful video on the topic
Device and principle of operation
The design of solar-powered lighting is simple and affordable. The lantern consists of a number of elements, each of which is assigned a specific function.
If you wish, you can make the lamp yourself, using the simple scheme of connecting parts.
- Panel (microcircuit). The main detail is the semiconductor photovoltaic module, responsible for the transformation of light into electricity.
- Built-in battery. A unit that provides the accumulation and preservation of electricity received in the daytime.
- Glowing elements. In lamps with solar batteries, LED bulbs are usually used, consuming a minimum of energy. The standard option is elements calculated 0.06 W.
- Body. The outer shell of the product, designed to accommodate the ceiling and lamp.For some models, additional optical components are provided that contribute to the optimal distribution of light rays.
- Controller (switch). The device that controls the tuning mode and optimizes the process of charging / discharging the battery. Usually, controller It is also responsible for automatically turning the lights on and off.
The mechanical part of the luminaire design is the support. Depending on the model, a step (pillar) of various heights or a mount designed for a vertical or other base can be provided in the design.
Controllers can be external (for the lighting system) and built-in.
Pros and cons of solar powered appliances
Like any device, solar lighting has its advantages and disadvantages, which are best known in advance.
Advantages of rechargeable lamps
The main advantage of such devices is their efficiency: since the functioning of the products does not require electricity, gas, kerosene or other sources of energy, the cost of lighting is significantly reduced.
In addition, the advantages of such lighting technology include:
- Environmental friendliness. Solar application reduces the consumption of non-renewable natural resources (natural gas, oil, coal). In addition, solar-powered lighting devices do not emit harmful substances and do not harm the atmosphere of the Earth.
- Convenient installation. Thanks to the autonomous operation, solar lamps do not require connecting to wires, installing a cable, or connecting to a network. This ensures comfortable operation of devices, excluding emergency situations that often arise due to wire breaks.
- Mobility. Lanterns can be freely moved inside the boundaries of the suburban area or beyond.
- Complete safety in work. Lamps powered by solar batteries can be touched without fear of electric shock.
- Auto mode work. Devices do not need to be forced to turn on and off: with the help of the controller, the light is ignited immediately after dark and goes out when the sun appears.
- Big choice. The range of lighting devices is extremely large.On sale you can find a variety of models that vary in power, size, shape, design, color.
However, such lighting equipment has its drawbacks.
Disadvantages of Lighting
Among the weaknesses of such structures include:
- Sun activity. A short daylight in the fall or winter, as well as cloudy weather, can place the lanterns to get the right amount of sunlight, because of which their charge will last only for a short time (4-5 hours).
- The complexity of the repair. The luminaire batteries cannot be repaired, which is why faulty devices often require replacement.
Despite the fact that some models are designed to work in the temperature range from -50 to +50about C, malfunctions are often possible in winter batteriescollecting and storing energy generated by solar energy devices.
Types of solar-powered luminaires
There are several options for the classification of lighting used in the organization street lighting on city streets and suburban areas.
According to the material of the manufacture of devices
For the manufacture of lamp housings, various types of durable plastic are used, bronze, steel, alloys, wood. Since the products are designed to work in the fresh air, the material is often processed with special tools: metals are additionally coated with anticorrosion paint, and wood is coated with a coating that protects against decay and drying out.
For the manufacture of shades, various types of glass are used:
- Smooth surfaces that transmit light to the maximum extent.
- Reflective glass that does not cast off direct sunlight. This material is ideal for street lamps, because it allows you to "gain" a maximum of light even in cloudy weather.
- Tempered glass with increased strength and resistance to mechanical stress.
Tempered glass luminaires are slightly more expensive, but have a longer life.
In solar lamps, two types of batteries are commonly used, which are used to convert sunlight into electricity:
- Nickel-cadmium batteries with a capacity of 600-700 mA / hour. Charging lamps made from a nickel-cadmium battery usually lasts for 8-10 hours.
- A more modern look are nickel metal hydride batteries.
Nickel-metal hydride models are more expensive, however, it is economically viable to use them, since such lamps have a long service life.
Type of silicon for photoelectronic elements
In the manufacture of the main module, the following types of silicon can be used:
- Polycrystalline. Used in the manufacture of the cheapest types of batteries. Such products quickly lose their potential, and from the second season they function no more than 4-6 hours a day.
- Multicrystalline. Modules are more durable and durable. With proper operation, their service life is several years.
- Monocrystalline elements. The most reliable option, with increased resistance to natural influences and the effects of aggressive environments. The disadvantage of such products is the high price.
When choosing a module, the specifics of operation should be taken into account. For year-round use, it is better to choose multi- and single-crystal elements, whereas for decorative lamps that are designed for occasional use in the summer, often polycrystalline are enough.
Type of device and design
The appearance of solar lamps can have a wide variety of shapes and configurations.
Wall mounted (front) lights. Such models are attached to the outer walls of houses or other vertical surfaces.
The location of such devices should be carefully selected, since their proper operation requires a plentiful stream of sunlight. Since on cloudy days a low battery charge may not be enough for the whole night, it is better to duplicate solar lamps with traditional ones.
Outboard fixtures. Such devices resemble wall-mounted ones, however, fasteners allow you to connect them almost anywhere, for example, on bridge fences, baluster balconies or tree branches.
In a similar way, you can highlight a playground or a barbecue area, create a festive decor on the site for a party, decorate a living fir tree for the New Year.
Street lanterns on poles. Initially, such devices were intended for lighting large urban spaces. In large settlements, they are used as an alternative to conventional flashlights. Similar elements are also widely used in the country: they not only illuminate the yard and garden, but also combine the plots in a single whole.
Park fixtures. In such devices, large panels are used. Devices, as a rule, made of stainless steel, have a high level of moisture resistance and a large battery capacity.
Due to the increased energy reserve, they can work for several days. At the same time, long-term cloudy weather makes their charging impossible.
Ground (lawn) lamps. Such devices have a small leg sticking into the ground, or a fairly high pillar support. Models are most often used to highlight paths and paths, as well as for decorative lighting of lawns.
Thanks to the pointed leg, such devices are easy to install in the right places: the support simply sticks into the ground. Due to this, small lawn lights can be easily moved to another place or just temporarily removed (for example, if you plan to mow lawns).
In addition to the design of sites, similar devices find other areas of application: they are used, for example, to illuminate billboards.
Decorative devices. Small elements, radiated by a muffled light, can have the most diverse form: animal figures, fairy-tale characters, flowers, stones. They are used to highlight the most spectacular places of a summer cottage, for example, an alpine hill, a decorative bridge, a fountain, exotic trees.
For placement on water (fountain). Special varieties of lighting are provided for lighting ponds. Such models have improved moisture resistance and anti-corrosion properties.
Well-known manufacturers of solar lamps
Solar-powered devices are manufactured by dozens of domestic and foreign manufacturers. Of particular note are the following major reputable companies.
Globo (Austria). An Austrian company engaged in the manufacture of lighting fixtures, including solar powered devices. The company was founded in 1995, and in 2009 became one of the five European companies - leaders in the production of lighting products. Products are exported to 20 countries, including the Russian Federation.
Globo has earned the fame of a trendsetter in the field of lighting: interesting new items are constantly appearing in the company's collections. The company's products are very popular due to the optimal ratio of cost and technical characteristics.
Novotech (Hungary). Novotech entered the lighting market in the early 2000s. Among the solar lamps produced by the enterprise, there are presented both budget options made of plastic and inexpensive metal alloys, as well as expensive models for the production of which colored and corrugated glass, bronze, stainless steel, and natural materials are used.
The company's products are not only original design, but also enhanced functionality, because when designing products, special attention is paid to operational features.
Careful design studies taking into account environmental features guarantee the reliability and durability of all Novotech products, which, according to expert estimates, have the lowest degree of defect and the highest level of protection.
Feron (China). Established in 1999, the company is currently considered one of the world leaders in lighting technology. 4000 different kinds of products are produced here, with a significant part of the assortment occupied by products operating on solar powered.
When designing new collections, the company's specialists take into account the high demands of consumers for the quality and design of products. All lighting is produced using innovative technologies with the mandatory passage of a three-stage control.
Employees of the company are constantly engaged in improving designs and the manufacturing process, monitoring fashion trends in the design of fixtures, as well as the appearance of new materials on the market. Much attention is paid to logistics, which allows Feron to maintain affordable prices for all branded lines.
"Start" (Russia-China). Release of products of the domestic brand "Start" was launched in 2005. Under this brand, various lighting products are presented, including batteries, extension cords, various types of lamps and lamps.
Customers will also find a wide selection of solar-powered lights designed to illuminate garden plots. All Start products have a thoughtful design, good quality and affordable price.
MW-Light (Germany). A dynamically developing company that supplies lighting equipment to many countries of Western and Eastern Europe. MW-LIGHT products appeared on the Russian market since 2004, immediately gaining great popularity.
The company specializes in the production and distribution of various lighting products for interiors and landscapes, and pays special attention to the manufacture of devices operating on solar batteries.
The catalog is dominated by products made in the classical style. All of them are distinguished by a thoughtful design, reliability, durability and functionality.
Solar lamp care
In order for devices running on solar batteries to function properly for a long time, a number of rules must be observed:
- To get the maximum amount of light into the battery, regularly wipe the outside with a soft cloth slightly moistened with water.
- In the designs of small decorative lamps, as a rule, not too strong batteries are used, which turn off at low temperatures. It is better to clean such products for the winter in dark rooms (attic, closet).
- Models of street lamps are usually not afraid of frost and steady cold: their batteries are designed to work throughout the year. However, if the owners do not intend to use the devices in the winter season, it is better to bring them into the utility rooms. At the same time, the lamps must be well covered to avoid automatic charging of the batteries.
- With the lamp fixed, you can try to get the battery out of the case, and after it is completely discharged, put the unit in storage in a cool, dry room.
During wet weather, it is also recommended that you wipe the lights with a dry cloth or rags.
Troubleshooting Solar Devices
The most common defect is a breakdown in the connection between the battery and the power container, which can be caused by oxidation of particles in the fastener area. For repairs, it is often enough to disassemble the lamp, strip the battery poles and contacts on the power container.
A wire break can also be the cause of the problem. To detect a problem, check the soldering spot in a darkened room. If a break is detected, it can be soldered using cold welding. If the repair work did not bring proper results, the lighting device will have to be thrown away.
With typical violations in the work of street lamps on solar generators, you can handle it yourself:
After disassembling, the solar luminaires should be carefully assembled and the joints of the housing treated with sealant.
What to look for when choosing
When choosing street lights powered by a solar battery, it is important to take into account a number of characteristics.
Quantity and power light emitting diodes (LED). The illumination intensity depends on this feature. Lanterns can have one or more lighting elements, the standard power of which is 0.06 watts. Devices with a single lamp are distinguished by soft diffused light, with several - they give even bright lighting.
Battery capacity. The higher the level of converted solar energy stored in the battery, the longer it will last. To work throughout the night, it is recommended to choose devices with a battery rated for a voltage of at least 3V.
High quality controllers. The correct operation of solar-powered luminaires largely depends on the controllers that control the operation of the batteries. High technical characteristics of such devices are a guarantee of the durability of the design.
Ability to work in difficult conditions. It is important to check the degree of protection of a luminaire designed for outdoor use. This information is provided by IP marking. To work on the street, this figure must exceed 44, and on the water - 67.
Packaging. The devices should be well packed, while the main characteristics of the device should be applied on the outer shell.
Design. It is desirable that the elements coincide in style with the design of the courtyard and / or summer cottage area. It is hardly worth placing decorative lamps in the form of gnomes in a Japanese garden.
Here, devices in the form of stones or abstract figures will look better. For sites with a rustic design, figures in the form of a stork, crow, fox and other animals are suitable.
Introduces the principle of operation and the basics of choosing a photo relay for street lighting systems next article, which we strongly recommend reading.
Conclusions and useful video on the topic
The video presented in detail describes the arrangement of solar lamps and various options for lighting devices that are operated on solar panels.
Solar-powered luminaires successfully combine functionality and decorativeness. Properly selected devices will serve for a long time and reliably, decorating the site with bright joyful lights.
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