Retrofit: Turning Street Light Poles from Energy Consumers to Solar Energy Providers

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In 2019, EnGoPlanet was contacted by one of the biggest global oil companies to improve street light efficiency in one of their refineries, with over 500 existing street light poles. Initially, the plan was to replace traditional streetlights with standard solar solutions. However, we identified a faster and more effective approach. We suggested using our EnGo Tower solar system on both new and existing poles. Our EnGo Tower solar system is one of the best solar lights made in the USA. The retrofit solutions proposal was accepted, and we completed a pilot project for testing.

The Need for Solar-Powered Street Lights

Traditional street lighting systems are inefficient and costly. High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps consume significant energy, leading to high bills and frequent maintenance. The required infrastructure, such as wiring and transformers, adds to the expense. Environmentally, these systems contribute to high carbon emissions and rely on non-renewable energy sources, exacerbating climate change. Commercial solar street lights offer a sustainable alternative. They utilize renewable solar energy, reducing both energy consumption and costs. These lights operate independently of the electrical grid, ensuring reliability even in remote areas or during power outages. Additionally, they produce zero emissions during operation, supporting global efforts to combat climate change and promoting clean energy use. The transition to solar-powered street lights addresses the inefficiencies and high costs of traditional systems while aligning with environmental and sustainability goals, making it a smart choice for municipalities, industries, and communities worldwide.

Energy Efficiency Challenges and Retrofit Solutions in Refineries

Generally, refineries use traditional and inefficient lighting systems that have not been replaced for years. The refinery itself is using a tremendous amount of energy to cover its production capabilities. Overall, the energy bills of such facilities are very high. Their idea is to lower expenses by reducing the energy consumption of their lighting system, and not only that, but also to use the energy produced for other applications. The main reason for the high energy consumption of street lighting is the lamps. On their facility, they have used 250W traditional High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps that are extremely inefficient, and having 500 + of these is definitely one of the reasons for such expensive energy bills. They would probably save up to 50% of the total cost only by shifting to LED lamps. Other than that, by integrating the solar system, it is possible to turn streetlights from energy consumers to energy producers. This RETROFIT system allows installations on the existing poles and requires neither underground work nor pole replacement (unless in really bad condition).

EnGoPlanet solar street light Turning Street Light Poles from energy consumers to solar energy providers
Commercial solar street lights provide an efficient, cost-effective, and eco-friendly alternative to traditional lighting systems.

Step-by-Step Retrofit System Installation

The installation is done by a crane and two workers. The process is as follows:

  • 1. 5 holes are drilled on the pole: 2 at a height of 3.5–4 m (depending on the pole height). In this case, it was 10 m, so 4 m is ideal. These two holes are directly opposite from each other, so that a thick metal bar can go through it. The same two holes are drilled two meters above (which is the size of the EnGo Tower solar system). Another hole is drilled next to the bottom hole.
  • Each half of the EnGo Tower is then attached to the metal bars and screwed so that they are fixed, and the white LED cable on one of the halves is passed through the side hole all the way down, which is then connected with the on-grid cable.
  • Next, when the halves are attached, solar panels are connected, and batteries are placed inside each half and connected to a 12 V system (this depends on the LED lamp, but the system can be connected to both 12 V and 24 V).
  • Later on, replace the lamp with an LED one (40W LED for this pilot project).
  • Using an app for the controller inside the Tower, connected via Bluetooth, we can then check if the solution is working. More precisely, if the solar panels are charging the battery, how much energy is produced.
Workmen working on retrofitting a street light with solar poles
The retrofit system allows installations on existing poles with no underground work or pole replacement.

Benefits and Impact of the Retrofit System

The retrofit solar system powers the LED street light from the battery and sends extra energy back to the grid. The refinery can use the extra energy to power other consumers or sell it to utilities. The new generation of LED lights is a low-energy consumer and provides brighter illumination than the older 250W lamps. The system sends a significant amount of collected energy back to the grid, depending on the battery capacity. The retrofit system also reduces maintenance costs. LED lights have a longer lifespan than traditional HPS lamps, reducing the frequency of replacements and associated labor costs. Additionally, the system’s independence from the electrical grid minimizes the risk of power outages affecting lighting, enhancing safety and reliability in the refinery.

Broader Benefits and Market Scenarios

Solar street lights find extensive use in:

  • Residential areas (EnGo offers solar led parking lot lights for car parking, solutions for residential buildings, garden lawns, and others)
  • Commercial areas (We offer highway solar street lights that are excellent solution for roads and highways, colonies, rural areas, and others)
  • Industrial areas

Current market scenarios have prompted street light manufacturers to look for efficient alternatives that provide off-grid power solutions. This gives way to certain drivers that boost the solar street lighting market. One of the most important fundamentals involved with this lighting system is the fact that it provides a viable solution to street lighting in any terrain, irrespective of whether there is grid connectivity to that location or not. Additionally, solar street lights are gaining popularity due to their efficiency and off-grid capabilities. Furthermore, they reduce the energy load on the economy, leading to more fiscal savings for the government and taxpayers.

The Potential of EnGo Tower Solar Street Light Systems

The EnGo Tower solar street light system offers a unique solution for the retrofit of existing streetlights. Cities, production and industrial facilities, campuses, shopping malls, roads, and other public and private areas can benefit from this system as they aim to become more sustainable and eco-friendly. The ROI takes less than 7 years. Given the lifespan of factories and the amount of energy they consume, this solution makes a smart long-term investment. It decreases energy bills by producing clean energy and lowering carbon emissions. Imagine the impact if we installed EnGo Tower on the majority of existing street light poles in your city.

Solar panels for solar powered street lights used for retrofitting traditional poles
The EnGo Tower solar street light system offers an efficient, eco-friendly retrofit solution with a quick ROI, reducing energy costs and carbon emissions.

All About EnGo Solar Module

As municipalities and cities turn towards more sustainable solutions, the balance between budget and innovation becomes a slippery slope. Many claim that pricing restricts their capacity to quickly turn to smart, sustainable solutions, such as solar powered LED street lights. However, although the solar power street light price may be initially higher than traditional lights, long-term savings make them a cost-effective solution. EnGoPlanet’s answer to these concerns is its retrofit option that turns existing street lights into solar pole lights, coming in the form of the EnGo Solar Module. This module converts already existing poles in outdoor areas into solar-powered street lights that can work off-grid and provide lighting regardless of power outages. The module includes:

  • An aluminum frame
  • Four solar panels
  • An MPPT controller
  • A battery

These components can be easily installed onto existing poles to convert street lights to off-grid solar-powered solutions. This option cuts costs in converting utilities and lighting to solar options and reduces regular costs such as electricity bills. The LED solar-powered light reduces power consumption, and the solar panels ensure continuous lighting.

Application and Versatility of the Retrofit System

The retrofit option offers flexibility for installation in a wide range of locations. It is perfect for:

  • Production facilities
  • Campuses
  • Shopping malls
  • Roads
  • Parks
  • Other public and private spaces

Solutions like this make converting to sustainable smart cities easier. The role of renewable energy in building our future is vital. In residential areas, residential solar street lights can enhance safety and security by providing reliable lighting without the need for grid connectivity.

The same goes for parks where our solar powered park lights improve visibility and allow residents to enjoy these spaces longer.

In commercial settings, such as shopping malls and business parks, they offer an eco-friendly alternative that can attract environmentally conscious customers and businesses. For industrial facilities, the system provides a robust and reliable lighting solution that can withstand harsh environments and reduce operational costs.

EnGo street lights along a street representing potential for retrofit solutions
The retrofit option offers versatile, eco-friendly lighting solutions for various locations.

Components and Features of Solar Street Lights

Renewable energy-based technologies for powering street lights in grid-based and off-grid systems include some of the best lighting solutions. The components used for solar street lights include:

  • Solar panels
  • LED lighting fixtures
  • Controllers
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Poles

These units need to be installed in shadow-free areas with direct sunlight to charge the batteries sufficiently. The standalone system includes:

  • A rechargeable lead-acid battery for storage
  • PV (photovoltaic) modules for charging the battery
  • An LED light source
  • Suitable electronics for the operation of the lamp and safe charging and discharging of the battery
  • Mechanical hardware for fixing these subsystems

These systems are available with either automatic dusk-to-dawn operation or a pre-set timer. New models such as EnGoPlanet’s Smart Solar Street Lights even have a remote management and control option that allows you to set, manage, and dim the light over a computer from any location. This option dramatically lowers maintenance costs, which is a significant expenditure for the owner of the street light network.

A park with retrofitted solar street lights
Renewable energy-based technologies offer efficient street lighting solutions, with comprehensive content for retrofit available for proper installation and operation.

Case Studies and Applications of Solar Power Retrofit Solutions

A notable case study is our recent project with a global oil company, where we improved street light efficiency in a refinery with over 500 existing light poles. By utilizing our EnGo Tower solar system, we converted traditional lighting to solar-powered, energy-efficient LED lights. This project demonstrated significant energy savings and cost reductions, showcasing the practical benefits of our retrofit solution. The widespread implementation of municipal solar street lights across municipalities could reduce energy costs, lower carbon emissions, and support the development of sustainable, smart cities and industrial environments. This transformation aligns with global sustainability goals, providing both economic and environmental benefits.

Future Innovations and Potential Upgrades

As solar street lighting evolves, several exciting innovations and upgrades are on the horizon. Future advancements may include AI integration to optimize energy usage and predictive maintenance, ensuring peak efficiency with minimal downtime. Enhanced battery storage solutions, such as solid-state batteries, could provide longer-lasting power and greater resilience in extreme weather. Smart sensors for real-time monitoring of environmental conditions and traffic patterns could further enhance functionality and adaptability.

These innovations promise to make lighting systems more efficient, reliable, and versatile, solidifying their role in sustainable urban infrastructure. The development of flexible and lightweight solar panels could also revolutionize the industry. These panels, with their adaptability and reduced weight, offer promising avenues for innovation within the solar sector. Imagine solar panels integrated seamlessly into various structures, effortlessly harnessing sunlight to power diverse applications. This technological leap opens doors to new possibilities, including the installation of solar-powered lights in locations previously considered unsuitable for traditional lighting solutions.

Furthermore, advancements in energy harvesting technologies promise enhanced efficiency and resilience for solar-powered systems. With the ability to capture and store energy from multiple sources, this lighting system can ensure continuous operation even in adverse weather conditions.

Parking lot with Engo retrofit solutions
Retrofit solutions offer versatile, sustainable lighting solutions that significantly reduce energy costs and carbon emissions in various settings.

Empower Your City with EnGoPlanet’s Retrofit Solutions

Retrofitting street lights with solar power offers numerous benefits, including significant energy savings, reduced carbon emissions, and enhanced sustainability. These systems turn traditional energy consumers into energy producers, providing a smart, eco-friendly solution for municipalities and organizations. By adopting retrofit solutions like EnGoPlanet’s, you can contribute to a greener future while cutting costs. Contact us today to start using EnGoPlanet’s innovative solutions, and we will help transform your lighting infrastructure. Join us in leading the way toward sustainable, energy-efficient urban environments.

Solar poles for versatile solutions