How to Judge the Quality of Solar Street Lighting?

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How to Judge the Quality of Solar Street Lighting

In fact, solar street lights can be as bright as common street lights. However, due to the fierce competition among solar street light manufacturers, many of them use low prices to win more orders. To increase profits, they often cut costs on the configuration, materials, and quality of solar street lights. In this way, the quality of solar street lights will definitely decrease, and the reputation of these lights in the market will also get worse. That is why, when it comes to solar street lights, most people think that they are not bright enough and will break down after a period of time. However, as long as the project budget is reasonable and the solar street light manufacturer is professional and responsible, solar street lighting can be the same as typical street lighting.

Factors affecting the solar street lighting

1. Unreasonable project budget

The cost of solar street lights is high because they have solar panels, batteries, brackets, and need better lamp poles than traditional street lights. However, the total costs of projects using solar street lights are lower than those applying traditional street lights because the traditional ones need underground cables, protective pipes, trenching, and grooving, which increase the costs.

To get the best solar street lighting, you need to invest the money you used to spend on underground cables, protective pipes, trenching, and grooving in improving the quality of solar street lamps. Choose solar panels and batteries that have better performance so that the solar lights can obtain more energy. And then use LED lights with high efficiency. In this way, it is doubtless that solar street lighting can be the same or even better than traditional street lighting.

2. Unreasonable configuration

Many customers prefer spending more on the light poles than on solar panels, batteries, and LED lights. It is spending the money in the wrong way because solar panels, batteries, and LED lights are the keys to ideal solar street lighting. When deciding how much money the customers should spend on each part, we need to consider power consumption, sunshine during the day, and environmental factors. Therefore, you’d better ask the manufacturer to provide a solution that can divide the budget reasonably to achieve the best lighting.

3. Unprofessional manufacturers

If you choose a manufacturer that is not professional enough, it can be hard for them to provide you with solar street lights of high quality. Ideal solar street lighting requires a comprehensive and reliable system, so the manufacturer needs to be experienced to produce the lights that meet the standards.

4. Unsuitable location

Solar street lights are 100% powered by solar energy, so they are highly dependent on sunlight. In some countries, the annual average sunshine, especially in winter and autumn, is relatively poor. Therefore, it is necessary to use a solar street lighting system that can absorb more solar energy in these areas. Without this kind of special design, it is difficult for the solar street lights to light up at any time of the year and provide lighting that can meet the requirements.

How to judge solar street lighting?

There are three main factors to consider when judging solar street lighting:

1. Average illumination

Whether the solar street lighting is bright or not is not just about the brightness under the lamp. Some manufacturers do not use light distribution lenses and concentrate the lighting in a small area under the lamp. This makes the solar street lights super bright, but they can only light up the areas under them, leaving the other areas too dark compared with these areas. Constantly changing between bright and dark will increase the risk of driving, because the eyes will suffer from short-term visual blind spots when suddenly transferring from a bright place to a dark place. Drivers cannot see the situation in the dark area, thus causing accidents. In addition, driving on the roads with this kind of lighting for a long time is also likely to make you feel sleepy. Therefore, the brightness reference value of the road should be the average illumination.

Solar Street Light Average illumination

So how to measure the average illumination? You can roughly measure the average illumination of a lamp according to the nine-point measurement method in the figure below. In half of the illumination area of a lamp, measure these 9 points, add the values up, and divide them by 9. The average value is the average illumination.

measure the average illumination

2. Uniformity

High-quality solar street lights can evenly light up the entire road, so the road will not be too bright in some sections and dark in others. Uniformity = minimum illumination / average illumination. Average illumination and uniformity are also main indicators of international lighting standards.

3. Operating hours on rainy days

There are many places in the world that have continuous rainy days in the winter and autumn. Therefore, how long the solar street lights can work on rainy days is also important to evaluate. If the solar lights can only light up for several days in winter and autumn, it is mainly because the configuration of the solar street lights is not powerful enough and the system design doesn’t take rainy weather into account. To test the performance of solar street lights on rainy days, you can place the solar street lights or the solar panels in a shaded area with scattered sunlight to simulate rainy days. And then count how many days the street lights can light up to evaluate their capacity.

In conclusion

How can we ensure the solar street lighting is good enough? Before buying in bulk, you need to buy samples from different manufacturers for comparative testing. One way is to contact 10 manufacturers and choose three relatively professional ones. Order a sample from each manufacturer and conduct a long-term comparative test on the samples. Record how well they perform according to the three factors we mentioned above and other important indicators, and then select the most cost-effective lights. Only by testing the samples can the outcomes after installing the lights in batches be guaranteed. To know more about how to evaluate the quality of solar street lights, you can contact our experts for professional advice.

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Victor Guo

Victor Guo

Lead electrical engineer with 17+ years of experience designing electrical street lighting systems, monitoring electrical-related work at site, and discussing proposal and lighting implementation options. Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Knowledgeable in LED lighting design, project management, safety and compliance.
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