When planning solar street installation, the principles are the same as for traditional streetlights, with one big exception and that is no underground cabling.
If there is existing infrastructure locally (meaning that the street light network is being replaced with solar), the same base with anchors can be used, while the poles would be disconnected from the grid and replaced. The would mean that the cost would exclude anchoring, and essentially only include the installation of the poles.
For entirely new projects, there are several steps that must be taken prior to the installation of the street lights. In these circumstances the following expenses should be included alongside the poles themselves:
1. The Concrete base
A concrete base with anchors with specified dimensions
An underground hole for the concrete base
Transport of the concrete base to the location
Transport of the poles to the location is always a hidden cost but should be taken into account when estimating your costs. If the number of poles is large the cost can be significant, but also cheaper per pole if shipped together.
In order to lift the poles, a crane with a pulling rope must be used
4. A reliable team of experts for this specific type of project
besides knowledge relevant to the physical installation, internal or outsourced teams need to be trained in connecting and putting the pole to work, so electricians would be necessary
Generally, the price would be fixed per pole for all these segments.
Initial investment for the solar streetlights is more expensive compared to the traditional lights, as it contains more elements as materials (solar panels, controllers, batteries, custom design, etc.). However, when considering the installation and underground cabling there is much less work which reduces the installation cost. Additionally, being completely off the grid results in the elimination of fixed monthly bills as well as reduced energy consumption, which in the long run can be beneficial.
Therefore, when thinking about choosing the right solution it’s important to look long-term, and to know what the priorities are, such as:
Utilizing the existing network
Converting to more sustainable options
Avoiding the cost and hassle of underground work and cabling
The possibility of remote management and dimming of the lights
Reducing or elimination of monthly utility bills
Avoidance of power outages and blackouts
Ultimately, there is always the possibility of having a combination of both in cases where the grid is necessary to be connected. The possibilities are endless and each project can be treated in its own unique way, what matters is what’s best for you.