Solar and Solar/Hybrid light Towers provide the modern contractor with a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to light their temporary outdoor projects. The bright, white, energy-efficient LED lights provide great lighting to work or to use for safety and security applications. The solar light towers reduce/eliminate noise, toxic fumes, and carbon emissions, while simultaneously reducing operating costs, including diesel fuel, fuel runs, maintenance, and the associated labor costs. It’s a win-win for the client, the contractor, and the environment.
EXPANSION OF SOLAR LIGHT TOWERS
Progress Solar pioneered the portable, solar category starting with the introduction of Solar LED Light Towers in 2010. The category has expanded today to also include Solar/Wind and Solar/Hybrid Light Towers, which include an onboard backup generator for long runs of inclimate weather.
Each of these technologies offer certain advantages and the amount of solar power generating capacity, power storage capacity, and LED light fixture options can be customized for any application or geography. Some customers and markets have a preference to go 100-percent solar or solar/wind power only to maximize the benefits of renewable energy and to eliminate any routine dependence on fossil fuels whatsoever. Others prefer to have maximum flexibility and the comfort of a Solar/Hybrid unit with an on-board generator for backup.
GENERATION SYSTEM SIZES
The typical solar light tower power generation system sizes today are 800, 1,000, and 1,200 watts. Anything less is not recommended. The 1,000-watt solar system is the most commonly purchased system today. For power storage, AGM (absorbent glass mat) “no maintenance” batteries are typically used and are usually wired in a 24VDC configuration. They come in 672 to 896 amp hour power storage capacities. For Solar and Solar/Wind models, 780 – 896aH is typically recommended. For Solar/Hybrid models, 672 – 830AH is recommended.
LED REPLACING METAL HALIDE LIGHTS
Energy-efficient, LED floodlight fixtures have improved considerably over the last several years and are rapidly replacing metal halide lights even for diesel units. Both fixed intensity and Progress Solar variable-intensity lighting™ (high-medium-low) are routinely used today. The Solar/Wind option is ideal for geographies where there are sustainable winds greater than 7 mph.
Featured Image: Light towers frequently pay for themselves in 12 to 24 months, depending on usage, and significantly reduce operating costs while positively impacting the environment.
Above: A light tower can be set up into its operating position or taken down to the travel position (shown) in minutes with a single operator.
For the modern contractor and the national equipment rental companies that serve them, the Solar/Hybrid model maximizes flexibility and insures that light will always be available regardless of geography or long periods of bad weather. The objective with this unit is to maximize all available solar renewable energy, but have a backup onboard generator available for whatever mother-nature throws at it.
EASE OF OPERATION
In the U.S., the Progress Solar/Hybrid series with 1,000 watts of solar, 830 amps of power storage, and variable-intensity LED floodlights set on medium, typically gets 80-100 percent of its power from the sun (depending on location, time of year, and weather) and the balance from its backup generator. Naturally, the generator operates minimally, if at all, during spring, summer, and fall, and most during the winter, if running the system dusk-to-dawn, 7 nights per week. This is because the days (solar gain) are the shortest in winter and the nights (run time) are the longest and rough weather is more common.
Towers include options for standard folding masts with manual winches or an all-vertical mast with an electric winch, speeding set up and further improving safety. The Progress Solar models also have automated solar wings to optimally position them for maximizing solar power gain. A unit can be set up into its operating position or taken down to the travel position in minutes with a single operator.
These light towers frequently pay for themselves in 12 to 24 months, depending on how much you use them. If you or your clients share an interest in significantly reducing operating costs (diesel fuel, fuel runs, maintenance, and labor), while positively impacting the environment by eliminating noise, toxic fumes, and carbon emissions, then Solar or Solar/Hybrid Light Towers are a great solution. ■
Editor’s Note: Progress Solar Solutions™, LLC has been issued a patent (US# 8.833.985) on its Progress Solar™, Solar/Wind™, and Solar/Hybrid™ Light Towers. All models have an AC rapid charger if ever needed to recharge the batteries during inclement weather conditions; lights can be used while the batteries are charging.
About The Author: Dan Robertson is co-founder and managing partner with Progress Solar Solutions, LLC, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based company dedicated to providing the best portable, off-grid, solar, solar/wind, and solar/hybrid solutions available. For more information, visit www.progresssolar.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, August 2015
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