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When it comes to the dark night, what helps light up your way while walking, driving or even commuting? It is the street light which is extremely handy source of light. And how does the street light work? It needs power.
But what if the areas with a power outage or without much access to electricity? This is where solar street lights come into play.
In order to make our world a greener world, environmentally friendly practices like utilizing clean and renewable energy is urgently needed to lower carbon footprint. With the rapid developments in photovoltaic and LED lighting technologies, solar street lights are increasingly popular in the market. The portability and eco-friendly nature of solar street lights make them an ideal alternative to ordinary street lights and perhaps a good choice for areas without electrical grids. These days it is common to see the solar street lights along the sides of roads.
What is solar street light and how does it work?
It is obvious that the solar street light work by utilizing the solar energy. The solar street lights depend on the principle of the photovoltaic cells or solar cells.
So how do the solar street lights work?
First, the photovoltaic cells are used as a mean for absorbing solar energy during the daylight. Then, the photovoltaic cells convert solar energy into usable electrical energy, which is stored in the battery. When the night falls, the electrical energy that stored in the battery is consumed to power the street light. During the day time the battery gets recharged and the process keeps on repeating every day. As long as the sun is up, this kind of solar street lights have a sustainable source of energy.
What types of battery are used in solar street light?
The battery is a key component of solar street lights system because it is where stores the electrical energy and powers the solar street light. Also, it is the major part of the cost of solar street lights. The solar street lights are working with different kinds of battery chemistry. In the past, lead-acid batteries and gel batteries have made up the majority of the solar street light market, but along with the gradual improvement of lithium-ion technology, lithium batteries are favorably received by the market of solar street light nowadays. In fact, lithium battery is a wiser investment for solar street lights in view of its various advantages over traditional batteries such as lead-acid batteries.
Why lithium battery is recommended for solar street light?
With the development of battery technology, lithium battery is well known as a kind of rechargeable battery that are extremely versatile and suitable for the use in many different types of electronic devices from consumer electronics such as laptops to electric vehicles like golf carts, camper van. In addition, as an environmentally friendly technology, the long -life, temperature resistance, and safety features given by the recharge ability of this battery also allows it become growing popular in solar power battery storage, communication base station, etc. Here are some benefits of using lithium battery to power your solar street light.
Good Temperature resistance
Temperature is of great importance for the battery life. Extreme temperature will accelerate the loss of service life of batteries. High temperature can have a greater impact on the traditional lead acid solar street light batteries than lithium solar street light batteries. Temperature which is more than 20°C can reduce the lead battery’s lifespan very fast. On the contrary, lithium battery can tolerate temperature up to 45°C. Cold temperature increases the internal resistance and lowers the capacity. Nevertheless, lithium-ion batteries have much better performance at colder temperatures than lead-acid batteries. At 0°C, for example, a lead-acid battery’s capacity is reduced by up to 50%, while a lithium iron phosphate battery suffers only a 10% loss at the same temperature.
High Cycle Efficiency
The efficiency of solar street lights is related to the cycle efficiency of batteries. Lithium batteries efficiency is near 95%, however, it is about 80-85% in AGM or GEL batteries. It means that if you want to charge 1Kw, a lithium-ion battery loses 5% to power the solar street lights but the AGM battery loses 15-20%. In the case of a solar street light, at least 10% more solar panels are needed to power the same load if using lead-acid batteries. By contrast, a much higher efficiency of lithium batteries can explain why lithium battery are more commonly used at present.
Discharge Cycles and Depth of Discharge tolerance
The DOD (Depth Of Discharge) means how long your solar street light can work. It is generally accepted that the practical DOD (Depth of Discharge) for a lead-acid battery is 40%-50% while a lithium-ion battery could be kept DOD near 80%. If you want to use 50% of a battery’s capacity, lead-acid battery has around 1000-1500 cycles whereas the lithium-ion battery can last for 5000 cycles. It means that a lead-acid battery will have to be replaced 4-5 times more often than lithium batteries.
Lithium Batteries Complexity
For the above advantages of lithium-ion battery, you might wonder why some people choose lead-acid batteries. It is because the lithium batteries are more sensitive to over discharge and overcharge which requires more advanced electronics to detect the status of batteries. At UFO Battery we have the knowledge and skills to deal with this complexity. That is why all of our products are equipped with a dedicated battery management system that optimizes both charging and discharging to maximize battery life.
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