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opinion4 min read
As the world continues to embrace eco-friendly solutions, solar-powered lighting is increasingly becoming a favoured option in the UK and beyond. Following numerous nationwide schemes, local authorities are progressively embracing self-powered street lighting, reducing their environmental impact and cutting expenses by avoiding costly grid connections.
As the 2024 landscape of solar-powered lighting holds the promise of exciting advancements. We sat down with Managing Director, Tim Barker, to explore his latest predictions for solar lighting as we look toward a greener future.
Tim, what can we expect in terms of solar lighting predictions for 2024:
“One of the most remarkable advancements in solar lighting is the integration of advanced control solutions. Technologies like PIR (Passive Infrared) and CMS (Central Management Systems) are boosting the efficiency of LED lighting. Our real-world data, gathered from installed schemes, informs these innovations. Our SAM (Solar Asset Monitoring) system allows remote monitoring and control of luminaires, maximising energy efficiency. Even minor improvements in LED efficiency translate into significant energy savings, reducing battery requirements and enhancing photovoltaic (PV) systems. This innovation is set to make solar lighting more cost-effective and sustainable than ever”.
Fascinating! You touched upon the affordability of solar lighting:
“While the upfront cost of installing solar lights may deter some, the long-term cost savings and environmental benefits are undeniable. Government tax incentives and financing options can offset the initial investment. Excitingly, I believe more affordable and efficient solutions are on the horizon, aligning with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2023. Increased clean energy investments and expanded solar manufacturing capacities indicates a bright future for the solar lighting industry.
As the world collectively works to reduce carbon emissions, the growth in the solar PV sector is gaining unstoppable momentum. Local manufacturing plants will not only save money but also reduce lead times and the carbon footprint associated with transportation. The transition to clean energy is expected to boost PV production, provided efficient and affordable batteries are readily available”.
Batteries have been a concern for solar adoption, how is the industry addressing this?:
“Battery production hinges on materials sourced from limited locations, and the competitive electric vehicle (EV) market is a significant consumer of these resources. For the solar lighting industry, finding sustainable and ethical solutions for battery production will be paramount. The race is on to discover alternative sources and develop innovative battery technologies that reduce dependence on scarce materials.
In the quest for a greener future, ethical and eco-conscious battery solutions will be a crucial aspect of the solar lighting industry’s continued success.
Aside from this, good product design! Like our award-winning Aeromax from partner Green Frog Systems addresses this. It’s a modular solution capable of harvesting and storing power for extended (all-night) operation, and not just for lighting – for a whole host of equipment, including CCTV and Smart City devices. Aeromax can be twin-mounted to double the solar harvest panel capacity, allowing extended operation of over 15 days autonomy (without the need for an additional charge from the sun). Which we believe is market-leading”.
So specifiers need to choose wisely! How can customers navigate the influx of new solar products flooding the market?
“It’s obvious that the market is increasingly saturated with low-quality products. At Acrospire, our experience differentiates us and enables us to discern when solar lighting genuinely provides the optimal solution. As part of our ‘solar honesty’ policy, we offer candid advice to our customers. We are always truthful when solar isn’t the answer, which we back with stats.
Solar lighting is a nuanced field, and it’s vital for customers to collaborate with a manufacturer who provides honest and straightforward guidance tailored to their unique project requirements. For example, an autonomy calculation alongside your lighting design. Our central message is clear: don’t rush into a solar solution unless it’s right for your scheme. Partnering with a trustworthy advisor will ensure you make the right choice for your specific needs.
2024 holds tremendous promise for solar-powered lighting, with advancements in control systems, cost-effectiveness, and more sustainable batteries on the horizon. As with any advancement there will be those looking to exploit the market and who will offer cheaper solutions, even if it’s not the best fit.
The idea for Acrospire was formed in 2012 when founder Tim envisioned a different kind of lighting manufacturer: one that would not only deliver outstanding customer experiences but also prioritise fair treatment for its employees.
We’ve come a long way
Motivated by the belief the industry wanted and needed better, Tim shared his plan to establish his own venture with Hatty, who simply couldn't let him do it alone.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Protecting local jobs and ensuring the best quality possible.
Working from a rented office by day and assembling lanterns in a garage at night, Tim and Hatty set to work.
11 Years later
Acrospire now inhabits a 14000² ft manufacturing facility in Basingstoke, Hampshire. We’re a proud partner of the Made in Britain scheme, ISO9001 certified and a member of all relevant lighting industry trade bodies.
Along with great relationships with our customers and a great team! We've attracted some of the most experienced members of the lighting industry, all by following one golden rule.
A simple ethos
That runs through all that we do. Customers who have made the switch to Acrospire have found working with us to be a breath of fresh air.
If you’re a professional in the lighting industry, you’re probably familiar with warranties that range from 3 to 10 years, with extensions available on special request or at additional cost. At Acrospire, where we’re proud to be different, we offer a market-leading simple 12-year warranty, as standard.
We focus on our customers not our competition. We manufacture our products in the UK: with the exception of our solar products, our supply chain is within a 60-mile radius of our factory in Basingstoke: to maintain greater control over quality. We al
Speed of response is crucial when it comes to resolving warranty issues. If we’ve made a mistake, we own it, get to the root cause, and fix it as quickly as possible. We believe in timely communication with our customers and making the resolution pro
Test and Test Again
We believe in independent testing and certification. Our new product development is in line with ISO 9001. Many of our products hold ENEC Certification. To meet the requirements of ENEC we also send random product samples for third party safety testi
Our product design is another key factor in our ability to offer a 12-year warranty. We value engineer rather than cost cut, never compromising on quality. We stick to our processes and engage with our supply chain to ensure that every product meets