Operation of Solar Street Lights

At the Photovoltaic Lighting Group (PLG) we specialise in being able to custom design standalone Solar Street Lights to our customer’s requirements. A typical solar lighting system consists of 5 major components; the Solar panel, Luminaire, Controller, Battery and Pole. Our Solar Lights are designed as an economical alternative to traditional grid tied lighting. They run reliably for a full night, with approximately 3 nights battery back up at zero charge.



How does solar lighting work


While working with solar power and LED’s Lamps I have found that a large part of my position is about enlightening people on how our solar lighting actually operates. The biggest issue in the solar lighting industry is that there are still inadequate/poor quality systems supplied. Some manufactures can be misleading by suppling systems that are undersized or made of inferior components.

In this section I will discuss the key features of PLG Solar lighting systems and provide design tips and considerations to look at when comparing a Standalone Solar Street Lighting Systems.


solar-panelsAt PLG we use highly efficient Mono-crystalline solar panel. Our panels have a 21% efficiency which is currently the highest commercially available. Mono-crystalline technology is the most tried and tested technology with only minimal degradation of the panel with only 0.15% every year. Therefore they still operate at 80% after 20 years. The solar modules carry a full 25 year warranty.


We provide Solar charge configurations with all our systems to demonstrate solar charge provided during the day, as well as power requirements to  allow the Luminaire to run for a full night. Therefore our Solar Lighting systems will operate for a full night every night, even in winter months or overcast days.

Design Tips:

  • For Victoria the best positioning of a Solar panel for optimal Solar charge is north and a 45° angle . Therfore site assesment should be performent to make sure there is a clear sky for the solar street light. Look for obstructions or shading from tree coverage and buildings.
  • A high quality system will operate the Luminaire for a full night every night with enough solar supply and battery backup to maintain the system. Make sure your supplier demonstrates this to you.
  • The higher the efficiency of the solar panel the more reliable it will be to be able to charge for power storage during the day.


street-light-fixturePLG luminaires are made with the latest reflective technology and uses American Bridgelux high- power LEDs. High quality LED luminaires supply a broad light that meets the AS/NZS Standards for Public Lighting. Our Luminaires have an aluminium alloy body to get overall heat radiation which protects and prolongs LEDs life. Factors associated with lighting an area are subject to the type of fixture (reflector) used. These reflectors are a unique design and can produce 3 times standard reflection to provide high optical performance. This also ensures a high level of efficiency suitable for illuminating Parks and Gardens, Walkways, Carparks, Loading areas, Streets and endless other applications.

Design Tips:

  • High quality LED’s from a known and trusted supplier such as American Bridgelux and Cree. These brands have high lumen efficiency of >100 Lm/w. Lumens per watt (Lm/w) should be greater than 100 Lm/w when selecting an LED.
  • LED are susceptible to heat, so make sure the fixture has a design to get overall heat radiation which protects and prolongs LEDs life.
  • Fixture and components are tested for outdoor use with sufficient IP Environment rating.
  • LED’s are point directional, a good designed Luminaire will have reflectors that enhance and focus the LED’s for a broad even light spread.


Solar charge controllerAll Photovoltaic Lighting Group Solar Lighting units include a water proof solar charge controller. The Charge controller regulates the system and enables Dusk to Dawn operation or is easily set to desired running hours.


– High conversion efficiency still can charge the battery in overcast and cloudy days
– Pure light control, dusk to dawn mode or on off on timing.

– It uses PWM charge & discharge mode- Solar regulator extracts the best performance possible from the solar panels and ensures that the batteries are charged in a fully optimised manner, promoting long battery life.

 Design Tips:

  • Look for water proof Environmental rating.
  • Assess type, availability, end of life and replacement requirements.


batteryAt PLG we have designed our solar set ups with Maintenance Free deep cycle batteries for optimal battery life. The battery is charged on a daily basis with the Solar panel and regulated by the Controller to prevent overcharge. The battery set up is large enough to run the luminaire for a full night without over discharge, and allows for poor charged days or reduced light ours.

Design Tips

  • The battery average daily depth of discharge should not be too high or your batteries will have an unnecessarily short life (This can half the life of your batteries).
  • Look at the Battery type, availability, end of life and replacement requirements.


street-light-poleAt PLG we have engineered our street lights for long life and easy installation. With No grid connection and running of cabling installation is faster than traditional grid tied lighting. Our Standard Solar street Lights are supplied with a concrete reinforced base and Hot dipped Galvanised Pole. The poles and bases can be customised for your requirement with Customised outreach arms, Double light fittings, Upgrade to powder coating, jetty bases etc.

Design Tips:

  • The poles are manufactured in Australia using Australian steel
  • Make sure your light pole is supplied with a strong mounting base and key points such as soil conditioning and battery replacements are taken into consideration.

At the Photovoltaic Lighting Group we have integrated the Latest technology to provide a reliable system that will stand the test of time. We have base solar lighting kits available which include; pole, batteries, solar panel, wiring with connectors, luminaire and controller. The kits are designed for easy installation and maintenance. We welcome all enquiries regarding custom designs and needs.


Author Rachel McCann

Project Manager

Photovoltaic Lighting Group



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