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Recent advances in solar lighting technology offer a number of benefits for lighting engineers, contractors and installation teams.
As solar street lighting requires no mains power, it can be quickly deployed without the need for time consuming, disruptive and costly trenching, groundworks and mains connection.
Solar lighting does however present additional challenges when deciding on specification. It’s important that all lighting performs as required, however it can be unclear from a manufacturers specification whether or not this will be the case.
Add in additional variables such as the difference in solar irradiation at different points in the UK and a solution that initially promised to solve problems has instead created additional ones.
Fortunately, there is a fast and straight forward method for determining the performance of a solar lighting product. We’ve laid out the maths and workings below, alongside easy to use online based calculators.
Before beginning any calculations, it’s worth a brief recap of how solar lighting works.
Whilst the units batteries will allow light to be emitted for a number of days with insufficient power, it’s crucial to remember that even with a large capacity battery, a product that consistently generates less power then is required will eventually suffer from outages.
Here are the measurements needed to calculate the viability of a solar product.
Watt Hours – Output of a luminaire in Watts x number of hours light required. E.g – a 20 Watt luminaire alight for 10 hours per night gives a figure of 200 Watt Hours
Panel Size – The output of a solar panel, measured in Watts
Solar Irradiance – Solar irradiance is a measure of the amount of energy hitting the earth from the sun at a given point measured in kWh/m2/day. The daily irradiance data for your location can be found by:
Alternatively – feel free to use the January irradiance data for your nearest city listed below. Cities are listed from North to South
Aberdeen – 0.32 kWh/m2/day | Edinburgh – 0.38 kWh/m2/day |
Newcastle – 0.44 kWh/m2/day | Manchester – 0.5 kWh/m2/day |
Nottingham – 0.51 kWh/m2/day | Cambridge – 0.57 kWh/m2/day |
Cardiff – 0.59 kWh/m2/day | London – 0.6 kWh/m2/day |
Bournemouth – 0.67 kWh/m2/day | Plymouth – 0.65 kWh/m2/day
If the panel size of a product is known, it’s possible to estimate the light levels in Watts that you will achieve in a certain location. The formula to use is.
Watt Hours Generated = Solar Irradiance x Panel Wattage x 0.9*
Watt Hours Generated can then be divided by the number of hours of illumination to determine the products potential sustainable output in Watts.
* The multiplier of 0.9 is included to account for any potential system losses and to err on the side of caution.
This online CPD course is designed for lighting engineers, contractors, designers and architects. You will leave the course with a firm grasp on the different components of a solar street light, how they work and how best to make use of solar technology.
This tool can be used to compare installation costs of wired and solar lighting schemes and to calculate the installation cost savings available by using solar technology.
This tool makes the business case for solar lighting by estimating the yearly and lifetime cost and emissions savings permitted by choosing solar lighting units instead of mains wired units.
Unit F1 Grafton WayWest Ham Industrial EstateBasingstoke, HantsRG22 6HY
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