New Solar Energy Possibilities for Homes
Guest Contributor post by Matt J @ South Shore Roofing A renewable energy system can be used to supply some or all of your electricity needs, using new and eco-friendly technologies. There are many different systems and technologies for powering your house while being eco-friendly and saving energy. One of the most popular and efficient systems is solar electric system, which includes solar...
Full mAh capacity range of NiMH (the good chemistry) rechargeable batteries for Solar Lights are now available!
Solar lights for the home and garden come with pre-installed, pre-charged batteries from most (safe to say, all) manufacturers when you buy them online or directly at stores. What many people don't realize is that these rechargeable batteries will eventually run their course and lose all of their effective capacity after about 2 years of nightly use. These solar light batteries are almost always r...
CES 2016: Solar Powered Gadgets of the Future.
by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a prominent global electronics and technology focused trade show that takes place every year in Las Vegas. Held in January each year, it is known for introducing the latest technology trends and most innovative electronics. This year, solar energy was at the forefront with a huge variety of tech that uti...
Holiday Gift Guide: Solar Tech for your Home, Kids, and the Outdoors.
by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor The gift that keeps on giving has never been greener, and the time to buy one for your friend or loved one is quickly approaching. This year for the holidays, instead of giving some trite piece of clothing or kitchen appliance, try looking for the perfect gifts for those eco-friendly friends who wants to help benefit the environment, or perhaps for a family...
The Benefits of Floatovoltaics.
by Maria Juniper, Contributing Editor Now that most governments, environmental organizations, scientists and even the Catholic Church have agreed on the need to combat climate change, innovative solutions are being sought in many quarters. The old ways of doing things simply won't cut it now that we're aware of the harmful effects of traditional means of power generation, such as the burning of...

The light wave of the future, switching to LEDs and what it means for cities.

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on March 24, 2015 in Community Action, Creative Solar, Latest Technology, Solar News, World News - Comments: No Comments »

You’ve seen them. Maybe you didn’t know exactly what they were, but you’ve seen them. You’re driving along, listening to the latest Depeche Mode remix, and you notice that those street lights are different than what you remember from a decade ago. Yes, street lights are going LED (Light Emitting Diode). Some are going induction or halogen, but the point to make here is that they have been going away from that yellow HPS light that was prevalent a decade (or two) ago. However, as we have reached the middle of the second decade in the new millennium (yes, it’s 2015 already), technology has changed. And with it, we are going back to the white light at night to illuminate our streets, parking lots, and any other large exterior space.

Why go back to white light? First, it helps to give a true color to whatever is beneath the light (car, clothes, etc.) that helps with nighttime security (no more “they were driving a blue car, no green, no red….”; you get the picture). Second, it is closer to daylight color, so it is easier on the eye. And third, with LEDs, white light can be directed in a more controlled manner such that light pollution is greatly reduced as compared to their HPS predecessors. It is this third reason that interests cities and those who enjoy looking up to see the stars when outside of cities. As illustrated in the before and after images below, the lack of proper designs with HPS yellow lights created a haze of light pollution that spread beyond the ground they were intended to illuminate. The “after” picture shows how light on the ground is not compromised by switching to white LEDs, while the layers above the city are going back to dark, as it should. After all, we’re not trying to illuminate the air traffic above. Cheers.

Light pollution: HPS (top) vs. LED (bottom). The results speak for themselves.

Light pollution: HPS (top) vs. LED (bottom). The results speak for themselves.

So, the simple act of switching to LED fixtures for street lights is having a positive effect on security, near-natural light conditions and unwanted light pollution. Not only do we have these benefits, but LEDs outlast their predecessors by many years and use less energy to operate. Thus, the long-term costs of operation are greatly reduced and resources are preserved for future generations.

Now, it you want to take all that preservation, savings, efficiency and control of exterior lighting (cities, this is for you), then you can go off-grid with your street lights by cutting your ties to the utility company with the solar lights at SolTek Renewables. Their autonomous solar street lights include all the components to install a system that is comparable to (and often exceeds) industry standards while costing the user (and that would be you, the taxpayer) nothing in nightly operation. The only cost is that of a rechargeable battery (like the one in your car) replacement every 5 to 7 years (at today’s rate, that’s about $150 a battery).  Not a bad deal for generating illumination that is controlled and owned by the city (again, that’s you taxpayers), doesn’t involve wars over oil, isn’t affected by black-outs or brown-outs, is free from utility company fees and their nasty increases, is as reliable (if not more so) than the conventional/grid-tied lights, and is a 100% renewable energy light.

100% renewable energy street light. Better, brighter, now! Image courtesy of Greenshine New Energy.

100% renewable energy street lights. Better, brighter, now! Image courtesy of Greenshine New Energy.

To give you an example, a solar street light from SolTek Renewables costs anywhere between $4,500 (for your typical 1-fixture light you see along the streets) to about $6,500 for a dual-fixture light (that you see along the median of a multi-lane highway). Typical installation costs run around $2,000 a light (depending on your contractor). So, to install a light where there was not one before will run you about $6,500 to $8,500. Compare that to grid-tied lights that cost even more after installation (trenching, wiring, labor, etc. are not cheap, nor free) and have energy costs every single night they are on (and look around, they are on in the daylight as well. Not efficient at all.) Furthermore, you can have your solar street light up and running in a matter of 2 to 3 months. Compare that to the decades (yes, decades!) of planning, political rhetoric, etc. with conventional grid-tied lights. If there ever were a no-brainer, solar street lights are it!

Solar on!

Mario @ Your Solar Link

Light pollution in the US: 1994 and 2014 comparison. Switching to efficient LEDs has never been more apparent.

Light pollution in the US: 1994 and 2014 comparison. Switching to efficient LEDs has never been more apparent.

How do solar street lights maintain their autonomy? Smart Controllers!

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on January 20, 2015 in Creative Solar, Latest Technology, Solar News - Comments: No Comments »

This is the final post in our series on solar street lights from SolTek Renewables. We covered everything from energy collection (solar panels) to energy storage (rechargeable 12 Volt batteries). Now we will focus on energy distribution. This is maintained by a smart controller that is located near the base and inside of each light pole (poles are hollow).

Solar street light controller from SolTek Renewables.

Solar street light controller from SolTek Renewables. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

The smart controller has a few functions:

1.  The smart controller is a gateway device that is located between the solar panel and the rechargeable battery. The controller will monitor the current of electricity going into the battery to ensure that the battery is not overcharged.

2.  Once the sun has set, the smart controller recognizes the drop in current and automatically reverses the flow of electricity out of the rechargeable battery and into the CREE LED luminaires.

3.  Smart controllers can be set to energize the LED luminaires in several modes such as split night (full output for first 5 hours and then to 40% for remainder of evening), full output (which will lessen the autonomy from 5 to about 2 or 3 nights), to full brightness with automatic shut-off (this setting may extend the system autonomy well beyond 5 nights).

4.  Once the sun starts to rise at dawn, the smart controller will repeat the cycle of energy collection via the solar panel and direct it to the rechargeable battery.

It’s that simple! Now that we are able to collect, control, and distribute our own free energy from the sun, the applications are becoming limitless. With all the components designed into one unit, the solar street lights from SolTek Renewables are without a doubt the most economical, environmentally friendly, reliable and practical solution for almost all exterior illumination projects in most of the world. 2015 is here and so is SolTek Renewables!

Solar on!

Mario @ Your Solar Link

The All-In-One solar street light for a proposed military installation.

The All-In-One solar street light for a proposed military installation. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

The All-In-One solar street light at night for silent military operations.

The All-In-One solar street light at night for silent military operations. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Back to the solar street light series, today’s episode – the solar panel.

Posted By: Mario Villalobos on January 12, 2015 in Community Action, Latest Technology, Solar News - Comments: No Comments »

We have been posting the components of the solar street lights at www.soltekrenewables.com. So far we have covered the 12-Volt rechargeable batteries, galvanized steel poles and CREE LED fixtures. Next up are the first point of contact for energy collection and generation: the solar panel. Solar panels are the point where photons from the sun (light) are collected, converted to electricity and transmitted via wires to the rechargeable batteries for storage and distribution at night to the LED luminaires. Sizes of solar panels have been steadily decreasing since their early years of widespread use. While the panels have been decreasing in size, they have also been increasing in efficiency. Efficiency is the amount of energy that is converted to usable electricity. Typical efficiencies run between 11% to 15%, with some companies offering panels at 18% efficiency.

Size comparisons between Lumina solar street light, 6 foot person and the solar panel on top.

Size comparisons between Lumina solar street light, 6 foot person and the solar panel on top. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Factors that can affect efficiency are reflective coatings on the panel to increase light infiltration, orientation of the solar panel relative to the sun, obstructions (shade from trees, buildings, etc.) and ambient temperature, to name a few. For the purposes of solar street lights, the optimum fixed panel position is tilted toward the south (for those of us in the USA). An angle of at least 20 degrees optimizes efficiency; however for those at higher latitudes, this angle will increase depending on your particular geographical location. For those on the equator, the optimum angle would be zero (as the sun crosses perpendicular twice a year), etc.

Lumina series solar street lights with solar panel position.

Lumina series solar street lights with solar panel position. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Solar panels for SolTek Renewables‘ line of solar street lights are higher on the efficiency rating, are minimally affected by temperature (as they do not rest on a surface such as a roof or ground that radiates stored heat from below) and can be coated with nano-coating applications to further increase prolonged clean panel surfaces in dusty locations. As for the aesthetics of a solar panel on top of the pole, the high efficiency and relatively small size of each panel do not detract from the design of the pole and fixture. Furthermore, it is nice to see that the energy used to light up your lights is collected with that solar panel on the top. A small reminder that you are now self-sufficient, off-grid and using a 100% renewable energy light where you own the energy that you use. An honest solution that is better for the environment and even better for your wallet.

Turning sunlight into nighttime illumination with the Lumina solar street light.

Turning sunlight into nighttime illumination with the Lumina solar street light. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Solar on!

Mario @ Your Solar Link

What keeps a solar street light together?

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on December 1, 2014 in Creative Solar, Latest Technology, Solar News - Comments: No Comments »

So we see them all the time, but may not think about what keeps them from falling over or better yet, what whey are made of. We’re talking about street light poles. The most common are galvanized steel poles and concrete poles. Poles used by SolTek Renewables for their solar street lights are hollow galvanized steel tubes with 0.2″ thick walls that are within industry standards for use on public and private landscapes. Each pole has a flanged base with standard-spacing bolt holes allow for the 1″ thick and up to 5′ long anchor/J-bolts to grab onto the pole flange and keep its components from falling over. Each light from SolTek Renewables is engineered to withstand wind loads of up to 100 mph (and can be customized for higher velocities), so they are sure to keep up with traditional street lights on our roads and in commercial parking lots.

Lumina solar street light pole with embellished base.

Lumina solar street light pole with embellished base. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Poles are engineered for each light configuration and intended use (pathways to parking lots to 6-lane highways) and can be powder-coated for color-matching to site-specific aesthetics and vernacular. At 600 pounds each for the Supera street lights, poles are responsible for:

1. Elevating the CREE LED fixture to a height that is sufficient to cast light over a given area.

2. Mounting to the ground/foundation to where it will withstand the test of time and the elements.

3. Acting as a pathway through which wiring passes from the battery box (for those buried at the base of the pole) up to the CREE LED luminaire and the solar panel at the top of the pole.

4. Serve as the solid foundation to which the solar panel is attached at the top (for most in the solar street light series).

5. Holding the lamp arm and CREE LED luminaire (dual fixtures are also available, check out your local big box store parking lot to see some dual lights).

6. Withstanding light collisions from vehicles near the base as well as wind shear from those pesky storms (standard solar street light poles are designed for 100 mph conditions).

Lumina solar street light with flanged base and wiring during installation.

Lumina solar street light with flanged base and wiring during installation. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

So, is it safe? Yes. Yes. And, yes. The future of street and parking lot lighting is going solar and SolTek Renewables is here to bring it directly to you. A smart and financially responsible choice for property developers, city facilities managers and anyone who wants to add commercial-grade exterior lighting to their spaces while doing it with 100% renewable energy!

Lumina solar street light next to palm tree.

Lumina solar street light next to palm tree. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Solar on!

Mario @ Your Solar Link

Lumina solar street lights along roadway in Santee, CA.

Lumina solar street lights along roadway in Santee, CA. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Lumina solar street lights at night in Santee, CA.

Lumina solar street lights at night in Santee, CA. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

What powers a solar street light? The same thing that starts cars every day…. rechargeable batteries!

Posted By: Your Solar Link Team on November 29, 2014 in Creative Solar, Latest Technology, Solar News - Comments: No Comments »

The new kids on the block are starting to take the world by storm, and are only going to grow in popularity and efficiency. No, they’re not a pop sensation of teens singing songs of growing up and high school sweethearts. The new kids are solar street lights that will bring energy production and dispersement directly at the site of the light itself. Solar street lights have come a long way since their piecemeal configurations of large solar panels and inefficient luminaires. Today, companies such as SolTek Renewables are working to supply customers across the globe with a new generation of area lighting that is on par and above the standards of conventional lighting methods. Their lights use CREE LED fixtures that are highly efficient, safe to use, generate minimal heat and produce illumination (in foot candles) that often exceeds traditional non-LED luminaires. With these positive aspects, the most cost-effective energy source to power LED luminaires is by employing sealed lead-acid gel rechargeable batteries, much like what is in most cars on the roads today.

Solar street light battery specifications and underground installation. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Solar street light battery specifications and underground installation diagram. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

So, why use a lead-acid battery as opposed to a Lithium battery? First, the cost of lead-acid batteries is within the economic realm of most users. Their capacity is high for the size and initial investment, so they are the chemistry of choice for solar street lights. Being that the batteries are essentially car batteries (and comparatively priced), they are 95% recyclable and have a typical life-span of 5 to 7 years. Coupled with a smart controller that regulates the charge from the battery to the LED fixture at night, lead-acid batteries have a system autonomy of anywhere between 3 to 6 days (typically toward 6 days). This means that the solar panel will collect photons (light) from the sun in a span of 2 to 4 hours and charge the battery to capacity. At night, the light will illuminate with a steady discharge from the lead-acid battery as specified by the controller. If the following 3 to 6 days are occluded with thick cloud cover or stormy conditions, the battery will continue to operate as intended over the next 3 to 6 days until it needs the 2 to 4 hours of sunlight to get a full charge again.

SPG solar path light collection and storage unit with installation in Colorado. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

SPG solar path light collection and storage unit with installation in Colorado. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

What does this mean for regions where sunlight is more likely to be out more than once every 6 days (realistically, how often, if ever, does that happen)? It means that illumination autonomy can be achieved by users/owners of solar street lights. It means that you are now 100% energy efficient with regard to generation and use. It means you are using 100% renewable energy. It means local energy generation, thus eliminating the dirty energy of coal and oil sources. It means savings for your local economy as you have eliminated fees incurred by local utility companies (they can raise the rates all they want, you are not paying a penny to them with autonomous street lights). It means it can happen now (2 months installation from factory to site). It means that you save money from the get-go as you have eliminated trenching and expensive wiring to the utility grid.

Stay tuned for our next blog on the CREE LED luminaires that are used in the solar street lights from SolTek Renewables. Reliable, clean and effective lighting is here to stay.

Solar on!

Mario @ Your Solar Link

Lumina solar street light at night for community in Santee, CA. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.

Lumina solar street light at night for community in Santee, CA. Image courtesy of www.soltekrenewables.com.


 
 


Juicebar Pocket Solar Charger.
This stylish, sleek and reliable pocket size Universal Battery Charger (Juicebar Solar Charger) is proven to be your best friend in a situation when conventional electric supply is not available or if you are trying to use eco-friendly renewable power supplies.
Great as a solar phone charger for any type of Mobile Phones, IPhones, PSA, PDA, Mp3 Players, Satellite Navigation, and much more.
Get it HERE.

Solar Lights Savings

Solar Garden Lights


SOLAR PATH LIGHTS.
Stainless Steel Conical Solar Path Light (Set of 2).
Path solar lights are an excellent choice for lighting your garden paths, walkways, driveway perimeters and other regions in your landscape. They are often used in multiples to guide the way along a set of stairs or a dark walk.
Featured Stainless Steel Solar Light set uses 2 ultra-bright LEDs for maximum light output and minimum battery usage.
The lights are safe around kids and pets and water and corrosion resistant.
Read more HERE

STONE SOLAR SPOT LIGHTS.

Stone Solar Spot Lights (also known as Solar Rock Lights) completely camouflage with existing landscapes and look like any other rock in your garden.

Green Gardener Corner


Solar Fountain Pump System

SOLAR GARDEN FOUNTAINS.
How to start using ecologically friendly energy to power up your garden fountains and other garden water features?
Why not go with a solar powered water pump?
To accommodate your needs the Solar Fountain Pump Systems we carry range from 2 to 8 Watt. Browse our collection of solar water pumps for your fish ponds and solar fountains.
Enjoy your garden water features and your energy savings at the same time. Make a note of the various power levels and the flow rate of the solar water pumps before your purchase.
Please write us your review after your purchase. Your opinion is important to us!

HOW TO INSTALL A SOLAR PATH LIGHT.

Stone Cylinder Solar Path Lights (Set of 2).
See how easy it is to install a solar light. No wiring required!
In this particular case a ground fastener and a stake are included for quick and easy installation. Read more HERE

Archives


DECORATIVE SOLAR ACCENT LIGHTS.

Solar accent lights (Set of 2) create an enjoyable and inviting glow for your landscape.
They are designed to mark a place.


Super High Output Spot Light

Solar Spot Light - $26.99
Super High Output Spot Light (4 Super Bright LEDs). Free Shipping!



Solar spot lights like this one rely on energy from the sun to charge their batteries and provide light throughout the night.
This means that there is no need to tap into the electrical grid for these lights to operate.
The solar spot lights will work consistently, even if the whole neighborhood is dealing with a power outage.
Learn more about Solar Spot Lights at http://www.yoursolarlink.com/solar-spot-lights, where we have a great selection of solar spot lights to choose from.

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