The extensive penetration of renewable energy technologies amid rising energy prices is certain to drive the solar street lighting market particularly in the developing regions of Asia and Africa. The product efficiently harvests sunlight during the day and store the energy in a dedicated battery system which is later distributed at night through energy-efficient LED lights, all while being independent to electrical grid infrastructure. A solar street lighting system is environment-friendly as it emits zero CO2 emissions while operation. Reports suggest that the transition from traditional street lights to solar street lights would reduce global power consumption (for lighting) by over 52% preventing around 735 million tons of CO2 annually.
Is the product an improvement over conventional street lighting system?
Indeed, a solar street lighting system is an improved alternative to the grid powered conventional street lighting system due to its superiority in energy efficiency, operation, maintenance and lumen depreciation. The product is ideally applicable in rural areas where grids are weak or undergo frequent disruptions and outages of conventional electric power. Also, solar street lighting is a continuously evolving technology and is seemingly becoming cheaper each day.
A major advantage of the product is its lifespan. According to reports, a conventional street light can last up to 5,000 hours while a solar street light is estimated to be ten times more durable. Furthermore, being independent to a grid the poles lack electricity cables which makes the product incredibly safe particular in schools and playgrounds.
How cost-efficient is the product compared to traditional street lighting system?
In terms of purchase cost, the initial investment of solar street lights is two times higher compared to traditional street lights. However, traditional street lights command installation, maintenance and electricity costs per unit – in essence, these costs per unit, over a period of 10 years, are estimated to vary from $7,000 to $8,000 while for solar powered street light the costs fall between $3,500 to $5,000, claim reports. The product’s installation cost in remote locations is extremely low compared to setting up traditional street lights that require to go through cabling and trenching procedures to connect to grid lines. These advantages quite overtly add momentum to the growing expanse of solar street lighting market.
Will the product gain government concessions due to its zero-emission capability?
Substantial reduction in the battery and solar panel prices is expected to significantly contribute towards the solar street lighting market growth. In recent years, the cost of solar power has significantly decreased and is anticipated to fall even further. Since PV modules last 25 to 35 years, the International Conference on Solar Photovoltaic Investments has estimated that PV systems can generate Return on Investment (ROI) in 8 to 12 years. Rising demand for clean power and the increasing economic growth will encourage the enforcement of numerous government subsidies, that would eventually help propel solar street lighting industry.
How will smart hardware and software technology affect the product’s demand?
The deployment of smart hardware and software communication technology will significantly improve the solar street lighting system’s functionalities while offering high energy efficiency and increased ROI for investors. Integrating light and motion sensors, cloud-based software for remote management and wireless networks to feed data back to the company, utility, or infrastructure provider will significantly help augment the popularity of the system. Technological advancements will also reduce maintenance costs by improving the shelf life of the product’s battery and other key components by up to 10 years. Intelligent remote control of solar street lights will also pave the way for enhanced developments in the solar industry and will help achieve on-grid reliability of LED performance powered by clean energy sources.
How will the solar street lighting market perform in Africa?
The developing economies of Africa are touted to emerge as key contributors toward the global solar street lighting market. Nigeria solar street lighting industry for example, is set to exceed $200 million in terms of revenue by 2024, driven by the ongoing foreign investment in the energy sector along with government initiatives toward sustainable development and growth of low carbon economy.
Recently, the Lagos State Government in partnership with UK-based Low Energy Designs Ltd. has unveiled an initiative that aims to install 10,000 PV-based LED streetlights in Eke, Nigeria. In addition, the two organizations have signed a MoU to build a $7 million LED Lighting and Hybrid Energy Power Assembly plant in the region which will be used for developing and testing LED lights and new renewable energy technologies. Aided by extensive efforts toward sustainability by public and private sectors, Africa is likely to emerge as the next go-to spot for solar industry investors.
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