Frequently Asked Questions

Urban Solar offers a range of commercial solar lighting products with a variety of capabilities and applications, including ski resort pathwayspark and greenway lighting, and city bus shelters.

We often hear questions about how we install our solar lighting systems, their operation and performance in different environments and locations, and custom solutions.

Below are some frequently asked questions along with answers from the experts on our business development team.

 

How do solar lights work?

Solar energy is collected through solar panel(s) and then stored in a battery bank. The LED light then uses the energy from the batteries to operate. Our LED control system uses that battery energy throughout the night, while only using a conservative amount of the overall battery capacity. This allows the system to run all night and all year, without failure.

What maintenance can be expected with a solar LED lighting system?

Urban Solar LED area lights are essentially maintenance free, except for the batteries. With any solar energy system, the batteries will need to be replaced every four years on average, plus or minus one year depending on other conditions. 

The solar panels are tilted at an optimum angle to capture the most solar energy possible. This tilt angle will assist rain water in cleaning the panels off periodically. Little to no additional maintenance will be required.

Will the lights still operate when the weather is cloudy or rainy?

The Urban Solar LED area lighting systems will operate year-round, regardless of rain, cloud or fog. We design the system to operate adequately each and every night, based on NASA-provided solar and weather data for each specific location. This factors in rain and cloud cover.

We design the system to ideally use only a conservative amount of the battery capacity each night, therefore providing a minimum of five days’ autonomy.

How long does each system last?

Urban Solar systems are designed to last two or more decades, with batteries replacements necessary every four years on average, plus or minus one year depending on other conditions. 

How much sun does my solar lighting system need to function reliably?

All Urban Solar systems are sized based on 22 years of local solar insolation data provided by NASA. Systems need good southern exposure to function reliably. We are able to leverage the latest technology to conduct remote site inspections and ensure that your systems will receive sufficient sun exposure. Contact us for a free inspection of any of your solar sites.

What if some of the locations where I want to install lights are shaded?

Call before you install! While moving poles or structures to unshaded locations, or trimming trees and vegetation is possible in some cases, these aren’t viable solutions for every project.

For that reason, Urban Solar has developed externally-powered lighting systems, such as our Bollard Series that allow the solar array to be located in an unshaded area, with low-voltage DC cable powering bollard lights, overhead lights, spotlights and more.

Can I mount the solar system to an existing pole or structure?

Poles and footings must be appropriately sized for the weight and Effective Projected Area (EPA) of the solar system based on local wind conditions. An Urban Solar structural engineer is available to provide guidance on the size of system that can be installed on an existing pole or structure.

Will I save money by installing solar lights?

Our team can help you determine the cost savings you will realize by installing solar lights. Most cost savings are realized during the installation phase, as our systems eliminate costly trenching, wiring, boring and civil works. You will also save money on your utility costs, but these savings are at least partially mitigated by the fact that batteries must be replaced every five years on average.

Can your system power a ___W fixture?

Our solar lighting experts are here to help you design the appropriate system for most outdoor lighting applications. As required, our systems can incorporate scheduled dimming and the use of a motion sensor to reduce the system size while delivering the light you need, when you need it.

What are the advantages of a UL listed system?

A Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory approval provides an unbiased safety assurance to all parties including the manufacturer, the specifier, and the end user.

In addition to assuring that the system can be safely installed and maintained, the rigorous slate of tests performed by UL ensures that electrical components are protected from environmental damage, and that batteries will function safely and reliably throughout their life cycle.

More information from UL’s Field Evaluations – Deficiency Statistics Tell a Story:

Since 2006, UL has been collecting compliance information at the time we conduct evaluations of equipment in the field. Of the more than 25,000 pieces of equipment evaluated as part of our Field Evaluation services, over 17,000 of these – or 63% – have been found to have deficiencies.

These deficiencies include serious fire and shock hazards, as well as other issues, such as incorrect or missing markings or misapplied components.

Can you help me design a lighting system?

Our expert team of solar and lighting designers can help you design the perfect system for your project, no matter how big, or how small.  Contact us today!

Where are your systems made?

Urban Solar lighting systems are proudly Made in the USA, in our Beaverton, Oregon ISO certified facility.

Don’t see your question in this list?

Get in touch with our team today.