Is solar lighting really eco-friendly?


On World Environment Day, Sunna Design takes you on a tour of solar solutions recyclability, a key challenge for an even cleaner energy, capable of providing a real answer to the global issue of lighting pollution.

Facts and statistics about the environmental impact of public lighting

Public lighting and building lighting require huge amounts of energy. According to the ADEME, they represent a worldwide consumption of 2700 TWh by year, for a CO2 emission of 150 million tonnes. Generally speaking, lighting is responsible for 5% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

At the same time, this sector offers a strong potential for reducing its environmental impact. Many traditional public lighting installations are outdated, more than half of them over-consuming energy due to their obsolescence. By improving street lights specifications, significant energy savings can be achieved, a substantial asset knowing that public lighting represents 41% of the local authorities electricity consumption.


Solar lighting, a technology in line with the objectives of sustainable development

If we can all agree on the fact that solar energy is clean because it is both natural and renewable, the production and recycling of solar solution raises questions. Any industrially manufactured product has an environmental impact, and one could fear that solar panels, street lights LED modules and batteries, would require more energy to be manufactured than they can produce.  

We now know for sure that solar solutions are eco-responsible from end to end. Their production only requires very low rates of rare earth elements, unlike technologies such as Smartphones. Their components have a high degree of recyclability, thereby limiting the raw material needs. Photovoltaic panels are for instance recyclable up to 95 to 99% by most manufacturers.

Figures also show progress to always limit a little more the impact of solar solutions production on the environment. According to a study published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, solar panels now pay off their energy debt in about a year, which took 5 years in 1992.


At Sunna Design, street lights designed down to their recyclability

Since its very beginnings, Sunna Design cares about offering both efficient and sustainable solar street lights. Its solutions are free of heavy metals and fossil fuels. They only need solar energy to light up streets, roads, housing estates, parking lots an other public areas, therefore being autonomous and self-sufficient, as well as guaranteeing an unequaled lifespan.

Sunna Design street lights’ electronic card is 100% recyclable, as well as the PMMA plastics used in the manufacturing of some components. The solar solutions’ LED modules have a recyclability rate of 95%, while the battery can be recycled up to 65% for lithium, and at a minimum of 65% for lead and 75% for nickel.

On top of its perfect recyclability, Sunna Design patented electronic card regulates light intensity of the LEDs, allowing energy savings as well as storing for later use.

Solar street lights are designed to be recycled by dismantling. In order to ensure eco-friendly practices regarding its solutions, Sunna Design works directly with partners from the recycling industry, including by setting up a recycling network around the world.


Sunna Design eco-responsible commitments to go further

A player in the green economy, Sunna Design is constantly looking for improvements to make its solar solutions even more reliable and sustainable. By focusing on products made in France, the company reduces its CO2 emissions on its street lights’ lifespan.

Investing over 20 million euros in R&D has made it possible to develop technologies in line with our societies’ social and environmental stakes. Sunna Design local factory has been certified « Factory of the Future », thanks to its floor space reduced by 80% and its progress in terms of working conditions.

World Environment Day is a major event for sustainable development, in which Sunna Design participates by doing its share!

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Sunna Design is the leader of solar energy management for autonomous and connected applications, with solar street lighting being our core business.

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