When we think about "green energy," we usually think of the energy that powers homes, office buildings, and cars. But have you ever thought about how green energy — solar energy in particular — can power products like traffic beacons, security lighting, and flashing signs? For many of us, the word "solar" conjures up visions of big, clumsy panels and questionable dependability.
But new technology has made solar panels more compact, reliable, and affordable than ever before — a natural choice for powering outdoor signs, lights, and signals.
In decades past, lighted and flashing signs relied on traditional utility power, which required connection to the electrical grid. Installation was time-consuming and complex, and wiring was subject to power outages as well as damage from wind or rain. Today, solar power offers municipalities a more flexible, more reliable option that also benefits the environment.
How It Works
Solar-powered lights, signs, and signals are powered by solar panels, typically located at the top of the units. Today's panels are much more compact than earlier versions, so they may not even be visible at first glance.
During the day, panels draw in the sun's energy for two purposes (1) to power the signal directly and (2) to store away in batteries. After the sun sets, a photoresistor detects the absence of light and triggers the batteries to release their stored-up energy. That's why solar-powered beacons and other outdoor products can continue to run 24/7 without interruption.
What About Cloudy Days?
When clouds block the sun's light, solar panels continue to draw in in solar energy — just not quite as much. If light levels drop below what is necessary to power the signal, the system automatically switches over to battery power, just as it does every night. Depending on power requirements, many solar-powered signals can continue to operate through a week or more of heavy cloud cover.
Better for Your Budget
By using free, plentiful power from the sun, solar-powered lights and signals won't run up your electricity costs.
A More Flexible Solution
Because they require no ground wiring, solar-powered signals are easy to move — perfect for new intersections or temporary signs.
No Power? No Problem.
During times of power outages, beacons and other safety assets become especially important for drivers, pedestrians, and workers. Because solar-powered products are not connected to the electrical grid, they keep on working even when the power goes out.
The People's Choice