Outdoor street lighting units used to illuminate a street or open areas via solar energy is termed as solar street light (SSL). Since their primary energy source is solar power, they operate in a stand-alone mode, therefore are not dependent on the general grid for any power requirements, whatsoever. Due to their dependency on sunlight, the lighting unit needs to be installed in a shadow-free area or a place where direct sunlight is available throughout the day to sufficiently charge the batteries for one working cycle.
The standalone solar photovoltaic street lighting system comprises of a re-chargeable lead acid battery for storage, PV (photovoltaic) modules for charging the battery, light source (Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED), suitable electronics for the operation of the tamp and safe charging and discharging of the battery and mechanical hardware for fixing these sub systems. These lighting systems are available either with automatic dusk to dawn operation or with a pre-set timer. Tubular Batteries provided with the solar street lighting system require lower maintenance; have longer life and give better performance as compared to pasted plate batteries used earlier. The SPV modules are reported to have a service life of 15-20 years.
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Current market scenarios have prompted street light manufacturers to look for alternatives that are efficient and 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 SSL is the fact that they provide a viable solution to street lighting in any terrain, irrespective of whether there is grid connectivity to that location or not. Secondly, they reduce energy load on the economy leading to more fiscal savings for the government as well as the taxpayers. Solar street lights also give the benefit of having negligible maintenance cost, no wiring or transformer costs as well as reduction in carbon footprint
The Solar street lighting market can be broadly segmented on the basis of types (Standalone and On Grid), applications (Residential, Commercial and Industrial) and lighting source (Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
Asia Pacific was the largest market for Solar Street Lighting globally, accounting for 44% share in 2015. India was the leader in terms of revenue realization from Solar Street Lighting, followed by China, in 2015. Africa was the second-largest market for solar street lighting in 2015. Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, and Nigeria spearhead the solar street lighting market in Africa with need for clean and reliable source of off-grid electricity. Europe was the third-largest market for solar street lighting, in terms of market share, in 2015. Germany and U.K were the leading countries with highest revenue realization from solar street lighting in 2015. The market in Africa is expected to witness significant growth in the near future and would surpass the growth rate of Asia Pacific market by 2018. This expected growth is the result of numerous initiatives such as subsidies, campaigns, and different programs introduced by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation to promote solar street lighting products.
The market in Africa is expected to expand at the highest CAGR during the forecast period. Government policies, local manufacturing, and demand for clean fuel off grid electricity would drive the demand for solar street lighting in Africa.
Some of the key manufacturers of solar street lighting are Philips Lighting Holding B.V., Omega Solar, Bridgelux, Inc., Dragons Breath Solar, SOKOYO Solar Group, Solektra International, Sunna Design, Urja Global Ltd., VerySol GmbH, Solar Street Lights USA and Sol, Inc.
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