How solar street lighting can promote positive change

Outdoor lighting plays a key role in the design of public space and can have a profound impact on its structure. Whether it is used for roads, cycling paths, footpaths, residential areas or parking lots, its quality has a direct impact on the community.

Good lighting is not only a way of showcasing specific areas, it can also improve security, strengthen community ties and enhance the attractiveness of towns and cities.

Solar lighting takes things one step further. In addition to many benefits such as cost and performance, the use of solar lighting solutions has a lasting positive impact on the environment, helps shape urban communities and accelerates the economic and social development of off-grid populations. More than “switching to green energy”, going solar is a way for public stakeholders to provide a better, fairer public lighting service.

Street furniture with solar lighting at the International Design Biennale in Saint-Etienne

Responding to sustainability challenges

Solar street lights are powered by photovoltaic panels, meaning they produce clean and sustainable energy. When choosing to rely on solar energy for public lighting projects, local authorities can effectively reduce their energy consumption as well as their carbon footprint. By doing so, they limit their environmental impact and play an active part in the energy transition, in line with national and global energy policies.

But there’s more to it. Adopting solar lighting solutions helps preserve biodiversity in areas that are the most sensitive to light pollution. Solar street lighting systems adjust the intensity of the light over the course of the night through the use of dynamic lighting profiles, making street lighting more respectful of living ecosystems – especially birds, whose migratory behaviour is strongly affected by light pollution.

A clear positive impact on the community

More generally, it’s important to consider the key role played by lighting in the creation and flourishing of communities. Quality solar lighting offers citizens a better experience of the city. It helps improve the readability of public space, thus making it more accessible and welcoming. It acts as a driver of social cohesion, strengthening the ties and interaction between individuals, while allowing them to carry on their social and recreational activities throughout the evening.

Installing solar street lights provides an opportunity to extend parks night-time opening hours or promote access to outdoor sports facilities. In addition to encouraging people to visit public places after dark, it also improves their safety. On rural roads or cycling paths, the presence of solar lighting solutions helps promote better traffic flow and reduces accidents.

Powering the Smart City through solar energy

Cities face major challenges: demographic growth, urban concentration, mobility, the evolution of citizens’ needs... To meet these, public stakeholders need technological innovations they can trust and rely on to rethink and transform the existing public space, with the aim to make cities smart and sustainable.

At the heart of smart cities, street furniture is undergoing digital transformation to be able to generate information. This is the case for solar-powered street lights, which are evolving to integrate and power various communication equipment and intelligent applications (billboards, interactive terminals, advertising displays, Wi-Fi hotspots…). An example of this is our RISE-On range, a smart solar engine that powers all outdoor electrical equipment in cities.

A strong driver for economic and social development

While access to electricity is growing globally, more than 11% of the world's population still lives off-grid, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). This figure rises to 46% in Africa, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa where nearly 600 million people live without access to electricity. Providing off-grid populations with access to energy plays a crucial role in accelerating their economic development, reducing inequalities and improving their security, in addition to having a positive impact on education and schooling.

Deploying solar street lights on a city’s main roads, streets and in other public places makes them easier to access, supports businesses and improves social ties. Additionally, in more isolated areas, these lighting solutions help reduce insecurity, theft and assaults. They have a particularly strong impact in sensitive areas such as refugee camps, where the lack of lighting leads to serious crime. Replacing oil or kerosene lighting systems with solar-powered solutions also helps create a healthier environment that improves the health and well-being of the community.

 

Are you ready to go solar? Our experts in solar public lighting and our software engineers are here to help you in every step of your projects. Get in touch today!

 

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