Bus shelters and billboards can be in locations where it is expensive or impossible to connect to the grid. This means there is a challenge in providing power for illuminating advertising displays. This is where we use our extensive experience, PV panels and batteries along with bespoke control equipment and our Smart LED lighting to provide unique solar solutions.
Factors affecting solar lighting
At it’s very basic level, photovoltaic (PV) panels collect solar radiation from the sun and convert this into DC electricity. Factors that affect the solar charge and the amount of power that the PV panels can generate are:
- the angle of the PV panel towards the sun
- time of the year
- shading caused by trees and buildings
So, when sizing a solar lighting system, we look at these factors. This helps ensure the most efficient system to provide enough power to do the job. The panels collect solar radiation most efficiently when the sun’s rays are perpendicular to the PV panel. This angle changes depending on the latitude of the site and also the time of the year.
Understanding the impact of latitude
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the winter sun (November, December and January) rises in the southeast. It then transits at a low angle and sets in the southwest. As the nights are very long, we need far more stored power to be available in the winter than in summer. Inversely, we need very little power in the summer months as the lighting is required for a very short time. In fact, here in Ireland we generate 6 times more power than we need to illuminate a bus shelter in the summer.
In an ideal world we can tilt the PV panels towards the sun, however, many of our applications require the PV panels to be horizontal. So we use sophisticated software which estimates the amount of power we can hope to generate on any day of the year in a given location. This uses latitude and longitude or GPS references.
We build up a picture of shading which can be caused by trees or buildings. This presents us with a chart which tells us how much power we can potentially generate per day in this specific location.
We size the solar systems based on data for December 21st, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This means we have the shortest day in which we can charge the batteries and the longest night when we need the lighting to work.
It is important to know and understand the sun and how to get the most from our PV panels. This makes it easier to provide solutions to any challenges.
Solutions include using the most efficient solar panels, charging the batteries efficiently, having enough battery storage to run the lighting (even if we do not get enough charge for a couple of days) and allowing the system automatically adjust the level of light in order to conserve this power. When we dim our lighting by 50%, we save 50% of the energy used. Our bespoke, energy efficient lighting uses between 40 – 80% less energy to achieve the same level of brightness as other comparable lighting.
Using a combination of different technologies as well as our unique experience, enables Solar Adtek to deliver our lighting efficiently. Whether it’s shorter nights, longer days, strength or angle of the sun or location, we provide solutions regardless of the situation.
Interested in discussing a project? Contact your local representative or alternatively fill out our enquiry form and we will get back to you.
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