Home Opinion Everything You Need to Know About Permanent Solar Lighting | Prolectric

Everything You Need to Know About Permanent Solar Lighting | Prolectric

Off-grid renewable lighting expert Rachel Preen, Managing Director of Prolectric, outlines all you need to know about permanent solar lighting.

Heading into summer, the demand for high quality, reliable, solar solutions are set to surge.

As the UK transitions towards net zero, more and more electrical wholesalers are extending the breadth of their off-grid product ranges to accommodate the growing industry appetite.

We are witnessing the uplift across industry as the sustainability specifiers’ web of influence grows and electricians, contractors and developers take advantage of the opportunity to be part of a highly profitable industry. At the sharp end, this increases the need to provide customers with the right information to make informed and factual decisions.

Solar without sun

As with all new and emerging technologies, a range of misconceptions can sometimes cast a shadow over the effectiveness of solar lighting as a game-changing technology. One of the most common myths is that solar power is most effective in summer when the sun is out and becomes less efficient during winter. Contrary to this belief, solar panels are designed to work efficiently even in colder, darker climates – and often are more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity when operating at cooler temperatures.

While shorter daylight hours might slightly affect the overall energy generation, advancements in solar technology, such as improved panel efficiency and energy storage systems, have minimised this impact. Prolectric’s solar technology has been engineered to work in the harshest of UK winters, where cloudy days make up 43% of the year.

Even on overcast days solar panels can still capture diffuse sunlight by efficiently converting it into usable energy, allowing customers to effectively harness solar power in low-light conditions. To date, Prolectric has provided over 8,000 solar streetlights across the UK, brightening up car parks, walkways and streets, round the clock, 365 days a year.

The dark days are over

Solar lighting has come a long way from its early days. Thanks to technological advancements, solar-powered lighting systems are now equipped with high-efficiency LED lights and sensors that provide bright and effective lighting. The energy generated from the sun during the day is stored in batteries, allowing them to shine throughout the night. Prolectric’s specially developed smart light controller and Passive Infra-Red (PIR) sensor work to ensure the solar LED light lasts from dusk until dawn, even on dark days, and throughout the UK winter.

Our very latest development in 3 PIR offers a unique solution which now ensures movement is picked up from an even greater distance. Solar lights offer a reliable and eco-friendly solution without compromising on brightness, whether installed in car parks, pathways, campuses or parks. And when used across large commercial properties, operational carbon emissions can be significantly reduced.

Low maintenance solar systems

Solar streetlights and bollards are simple, quick and economical to install. With no manpower required to dig trenches or install trunking for cables, labour costs and carbon footprints are significantly reduced. Installation time is minimal compared to conventional mains power alternatives which minimises the disruption to roads users and the impact on traffic. It can also help to cut down construction project schedules and with reduced contractor presence, onsite safety and security is also enhanced.

Reducing the reliance on grid energy, unlike EV charging units and stations that stretch the grid capacity; solar streetlights and bollards are low maintenance, with no need for PAT testing, and have a long operating life. There is no need to change the whole unit when one element comes to the end of its life; instead the single component can be replaced, again reducing embodied carbon and waste.

Solar systems are often perceived as high-maintenance due to concerns about cleaning panels and maintaining batteries. However, modern solar panels are designed with self-cleaning technology. Battery maintenance is also minimal, with many solar systems featuring smart battery management systems that require little to no manual intervention. Routine checks and occasional cleaning are usually sufficient to keep a solar system running smoothly year-round.

Delivering change

When it comes to solar lighting, both temporary and permanent solutions, Prolectric has been championing quieter, safer and more environmentally friendly sites since 2011, as the first to introduce solar street lighting to the UK. This game-changing solar technology provides a practical way for businesses to achieve their carbon-reduction commitments, enabling them to move away from fossil-fuelled or mains powered systems.

Prolectric solar lighting and hybrid generators provide high-performance temporary and permanent site lighting and power – with minimal environmental impact and low running costs. In particular, these lighting systems produce no carbon, no noise, need little maintenance, and require no fuel. As the demands on the UK electrical grid become greater and the need to reduce carbon emissions becomes increasingly important, solar lighting has the potential to deliver real change.

In close, we don’t want to wish the Great British summertime away, but when the sun starts to fade, the nights draw in and summer feels like a very distant memory – you can be safe in the knowledge that year-round solar power and lighting is a feasible, practical and reliable option, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable future.

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