Dealers, contractors and planners have to keep pace with many changes in lighting technology. One of the growing categories of outdoor lighting is solar area lights. The global solar panel lighting market is expected to more than double to US $ 10.8 billion by 2024, from US $ 5.2 billion in 2019, an average annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.6%, according to the research firm Markets and Markets.
- Independently targeted solar modules and LED modules. This allows for the optimization of the solar collection as well as directing the light where it is most needed. Placing the solar panel at an angle that corresponds to the local latitude will maximize solar energy collection all year round (https://www.soltechlighting.com/blog/solar-panel-optimization/). By angling the solar module, rain, wind and gravity can naturally clean the surface of the solar module.
- Increased light output. The effectiveness of LED lights can now exceed 200 lpW on some models. This LED efficiency is combined with a drastic improvement in solar panel and battery power + efficiency, so some solar area lights can now achieve more than 9,000 lumens for a 50 watt floodlight.
- Increased LED runtimes. The same combination of dramatic efficiency improvements for LEDs, solar modules and battery technology also enables longer run times for lighting solar areas. Some high powered devices can now run all night (10 to 13 hours), while many lower powered models can now run for two to three nights on a single charge.
- More automated control options. Solar lights are now equipped with a variety of pre-programmed timer options, a built-in microwave motion sensor, a daylight sensor and automatic dimming of the lights when the battery is low to extend the operating time overnight.
- Strong ROI. Solar lights are ideal in locations where AC power is difficult to operate. Solar lights avoid digging, wiring and electricity costs and provide great ROI for these locations. In addition, there is a federal solar tax credit of 26% of the system costs. There are also many government solar discounts and incentives (https://www.energysage.com/solar/cost-benefit/solar-incentives-and-rebates/). Low maintenance for solar lights can also improve financial analysis. Some resulting ROIs for solar panel lights versus line powered LED lights are over 50%, with a simple payback of approximately two years, including incentives.
- Increasing use on streets, parking lots, bike paths and parks. Many municipalities and other government agencies build and maintain roads, parking lots, bike paths, and parks. The more remote and difficult it is to supply these locations with electricity, the more attractive a solar lighting system becomes. Many of these communities also have environmental and sustainability goals that they can work towards with solar light. In the commercial sector, solar lights are increasingly used for bus stops, signage and billboards, pedestrian walkways and safety lighting.