Solar Parking Lot Lighting Design: Step by Step
We have gone over street lighting and sign lighting design, I thought it was time we went over parking lot lighting design. Parking lot and street solar lighting systems are designed very similarly, but there are some major differences that need to be taken into consideration. Here is your step by step guide.
Step 1 – Determine how large the area is that needs the light
Parking lots range in size and configurations, from a small parking lot at a park to a large area at a mall or office complex. Depending on how spread out the area is, or what obstacles are involved, Parking lots need a little more finesse to get the lights in the right places. It is best to have a blueprint of the parking lot or at least an aerial shot of the parking lot, which will help determine the best places to install the lights into the parking lot.
Step 2 – Determine if electricity already exists
Many times, parking lots can be installed before any lighting is even thought of. Or there are many cases where existing parking lots have issues with the wiring underground. This causes great concern and will be quite costly to replace since trenching of the parking lot will now occur to either install or repair the electricity. Solar parking lot lights help lower costs by avoiding all the work of breaking up and then repairing the foundation of the parking lot, while also providing a faster installation.
Step 3 – Determine lighting requirements and needs
How much illumination is required by your area for parking lots? Do they need to be dark sky compliant? This information needs to be determined at the beginning stages of the design to allow for accurate lighting layouts. Different fixtures provide different lighting distributions and have different throws and BUG – Back / Uplight / Glare ratings. Also knowing how long the lights are required helps determine how much power can be pushed. Operating them only at full intensity when the area is active, and either dimming or turning them off in the middle of the night when there is no one in the area, can lower electrical costs and usages; however, if security is a concern, let your designer know this in advance.
Step 4 – Find all alternatives
Solar is a great option to reduce costs over the long term and can provide great alternatives to trenching for standard electrical lights. The solar parking lot lighting systems operate independently from grid power and allow for easy installation in most locations. This is great for new projects or areas where the parking lot has already been poured or where the electrical lines are damaged. If you want to replace your existing electrical lights with solar, check out our article about replacing existing grid lights with a solar lighting retrofit.
Step 5 – Contact companies for quotes.
The last step after gathering the above information is to contact companies for quotes. Just like with anything else, get multiple quotes and weigh the pros and cons of every company and situation. The lowest quote is not always the best, so make sure to do your research on companies and products before you submit a purchase order.
If you take your time, do your research, and gather needed requirements, your next parking lot lighting project will be a success. Never be afraid to ask a lot of questions, they may save you time and money in the long run.