Solar Street Lights: Community Benefits with Improved Security

The times they are a'changing. Increased crime rates in metropolitan centers as well as more rural communities is fostering a drastic increase in city budget spending, and the cost of maintenance on infrastructure isn't letting up.

The times they are a'changing. Increased crime rates in metropolitan centers as well as more rural communities is fostering a drastic increase in city budget spending, and the cost of maintenance on infrastructure isn't letting up. Public works projects take a huge chunk out of a planning board's projections each year, including the very lighting needed to keep streets safe. This one two punch can be devastating in how a community functions, but logically, there can be a reductive solution.


Overview of Solar Street Lights
For the majority of the country, sodium vapor lamps are the standard fare for road side lighting options. These large, bulky units are not independent self generating stations but tied into the power grid, drawing from the same source as home and business feeds. This network of city maintained lamps draws heavily on a community's power supply, yet another option exists – solar powered units. These free standing, independent lamps are comprised of their own energy collector in the form of panels (though units can be strung together to feed off of a dedicated solar collector, and even connected to the grid as an emergency backup), and remain viable even during an energy crisis. Police recognize the strength of community protection tied into reliable lighting, so the complete removal does not make sense.

Solar power LED lamps would maintain well lit areas, and reduce the public works costs associated with traditional sodium vapor street lights. This places more money back into the city coffers, allowing for increases in funding to police and fire services.

How they Work
Solar street lights work independent of each other, and in fact, many communities' public works departments already utilize a similar form with mobile speed registers and work lights. The lamps maintain their own closed system of collector panels which channel through a dedicated convertor to battery storage. The lights work on a timing system regulated by the public works administration, set to coincide with dusk and dawn. The limitations are minimal, as batteries designed for these systems take into account low solar radiation collection periods and extend a backup system to the grid in case of low power supply.

Existing frameworks for lighting poles can be converted into solar collecting units, and the systems can be self sufficient financially in the matter of only a few short years. The green movement is drawing across the country, and soon this technology will be lighting the way to a brighter tomorrow.

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