Solar streetlights are one of the innovative applications of solar energy for improving public utilities. With the help of solar street lights, it is possible to illuminate dark avenues by using the power of the sun. Most important of all, solar street lights are also helpful in evaluating the prospects for sustainability. Solar lighting systems use a solar module and a battery, wherein the system generates power throughout the day and stores it in the battery.
The energy stored in the batteries comes into play at night. Therefore, the selection of batteries for solar-powered street lights is crucial for defining autonomy, maintenance requirements and aesthetics of the street lights. The following post helps you find the ideal battery suited for different solar street light projects.
Common Types of Solar Street Lights
Before you find the best alternative for a solar street light project, you should identify the different types of solar street light designs. Interestingly, the different varieties of solar streetlights are classified on the basis of battery placement positions. You can find three different categories of solar street light systems such as conventional solar street lights, integrated solar street lights and all-in-two solar street lights.
The conventional solar street light system works as an independent distributed power supply system with solar panels separated from batteries. In the case of integrated solar street light systems, the solar panel and the batteries are included in one piece of equipment. The all-in-two solar street lights are a derivative of the integrated street light system. All-in-two systems have a separate solar panel while integrating solar controls and the battery in the street lamp body.
Ideal Batteries for Solar Street Light Systems
The differences in design of solar street lighting systems indicate the possibilities of using different types of batteries. Here are some of the common types of batteries you can choose for solar-powered street lighting systems.
- Lead-Acid Battery
The first entry among common types of batteries used in solar street lights is the lead-acid battery. You can distinguish a lead-acid battery with the design of electrodes from lead and its oxides. The electrolyte used in these batteries is a sulfuric acid solution. Lead-acid batteries are also referred to as AGM batteries. The two most promising traits in favour of lead-acid batteries are the assurance of stability and cost-effective prices.
On the other hand, lead-acid batteries also feature setbacks such as relatively low specific energy. In addition, the service life lasts for around 300-500 deep cycles alongside imposing the concerns of frequent maintenance. However, the cost advantage of lead-acid batteries makes them useful for conventional solar street lighting systems.
- Lithium-Ion Battery
The most popular choice of batteries for solar street lighting systems would be Lithium-Ion batteries. Also known as Li-Ion batteries, they feature a lithium-carbon anode alongside a lithium-metal oxide cathode. The electrolyte in these batteries uses a lithium salt electrolyte. Lithium-ion batteries are reliable choices for accessing higher energy density, thereby ensuring higher capacities with compact designs.
At the same time, you need to consider limits of Li-Ion batteries, such as high costs and difficulty in maintenance. On top of it, such batteries are not recommended for locations with extreme weather conditions.
- Lithium-Iron Phosphate Battery
The unique variant of a Li-Ion battery, Lithium-Iron Phosphate batteries utilize lithium iron phosphate as the anode and carbon as the cathode. Some of the unique benefits of Lithium-Iron phosphate batteries include high energy density, fast charging, small size and long service life. Furthermore, these batteries also provide the assurance of resistance to high temperatures alongside better stability.
Lithium-Iron Phosphate batteries could offer stability in electrochemical performance, thereby avoiding any changes in battery structure during charging or discharging. On the other hand, you should also note the setbacks of lithium-ion phosphate batteries in terms of high costs.
Are You Ready to Choose Batteries for Solar Street Lighting Systems?
The notable mentions among batteries for solar street lighting projects showcase the variety of options you have at your disposal. However, there are many crucial factors which define the choice of a suitable battery for solar street light systems.
Some of the notable aspects of a battery include its capacity and size, performance, battery lifespan, pricing and safety. In addition, you must also check the battery's resistance to environmental factors and its ability to perform under external stressors.