The Benefits of Solar LED Lighting and the IoT

The Benefits of Solar Lighting and IoT

Solar-powered LED lights and the Internet of Things (IoT) are two different ways to cut expenses and improve energy efficiency. Furthermore, the synergies achieved by combining these two technologies creates far more benefits than either one of them alone.

The Solar LED Light

A typical solar-power LED light in a parking lot or on a road costs less to set up and operate than a conventional light. The setup savings come from not having to run expensive power cabling to light systems, which can save even more for lights in remote areas. The operating savings arise from LED lights that reduce power consumption and solar panels that eliminate the need to pay for power from the grid.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows all manner of machines to connect to the Internet, enabling more intelligent use and better coordination. For example, an individual solar panel with the right sensors and a motor can track the position of the sun, significantly boosting energy collection. Lights along a highway can also communicate with each other, increasing output as cars pass along during low-traffic times at night.

Reduced Maintenance with IoT Monitoring

Solar power and LED lighting substantially lower maintenance expenses, and IoT monitoring further decreases upkeep costs. LED lights already last longer than most practical alternatives, and IoT light sensors take advantage of their adjustable light output to reduce usage when more light is present. IoT sensors can also determine if no one is there and switch the lights off entirely.

Other IoT monitoring devices give maintenance personnel the ability to remotely determine when LED lights burn out, the batteries need to be replaced, or the system is otherwise impaired. Newer lighting systems utilize fuzzy control theory and wireless communications to operate more efficiently as networks of light points, but they can still revert to individual operation if temporarily disconnected from the Internet.

Wireless Control with the IoT

The Internet of Things (IoT) expands the ability to control, as well as monitor, solar LED lighting. It has always been difficult to adjust light systems, especially those attached to tall poles along roads or in parking lots. However, IoT motors allow users to tilt solar panels and LED lights using tablets, PCs, and smartphones.

Wireless controls also enable several less dramatic changes at a minimal cost. Light systems can be remotely deactivated entirely for extended periods when they are not used, such as at schools during the summer. If speakers are attached, wireless lighting systems can also provide announcements when emergencies occur.

IoT Data Collection

IoT-enabled solar LED lights can also collect a variety of data to improve their own efficiency and for other purposes. The most useful information for the lights themselves concerns weather and traffic patterns. IoT sensors in or near lighting systems can also help drivers determine if parking spaces are available in a particular area. Furthermore, IoT data might be used to prevent and respond to crimes more effectively.

Local governments can also install IoT sensors on solar-powered LED light poles to gather information on air pollution. That would enable more accurate air quality warnings and more rapid responses to potentially dangerous conditions. The concept of smart cities largely depends on installing enough of these IoT data collection sensors.

Advanced Features

Solar LED lighting installations can support numerous additional advanced features that are not always directly related to lighting or the IoT. The easiest to implement and most popular is free Wi-Fi for mobile devices in the immediate vicinity of the lights. Wi-Fi consumes relatively little power from the solar-powered light’s ample energy capacity while providing impressive cost savings to citizens.

Wireless charging technology continues to advance, and it has several applications for solar LED light systems. Providing recharging services for smartphones is likely to come first. Further into the future, wireless power transfers between solar-powered lights might become practical as well.

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