Street lighting is a very important public service provided by public authorities at the local and municipal level. Good lighting is essential for public safety, road safety, and overall ambience of a place. Street lighting ensures visibility in the dark for pedestrians, motorists and cyclists, thereby reducing road accidents. Street lighting also indirectly facilitates crime prevention by increasing safety and security of people and property (private and public). Good street lighting effects can boost and add to the appeal of a city.
Some problem areas
However, many street lighting facilities are old and outdated and therefore not efficient. This leads to higher energy requirement and high maintenance too. For municipalities with such outdated systems, street lighting can account for around 30-50% of their entire power consumption.
For example, in India most of the street lights are sodium vapour lights, metal halides, and some CFLs. An estimated 20 to 40% of the energy produced in India goes into the lighting of street lights. Although, with the rise in solar technology, solar powered streetlights are also seen in some areas now.
In the current lighting situation there is no baseline data or system which provides information regarding faulty lights.
Electricity theft is another problem area and as of now there is no particular method of finding out the amount of electricity consumed by each light. Thus there is no specific way to determine if there is a leak somewhere in the line.
Despite electricity shortage, it has been frequently observed that street lights are working/on, even during the day. This is wastage of electricity. It could be due to human error or negligence. However, in the end, the financial burden lies on the municipal corporation.
Since streetlights are such an essential part of every city, supporting people and businesses with safety, security and convenience, it would be better (financially and environmentally) if we could use our street lighting network in a smarter, more intelligent way rather than the current on-off system.
All parts of the world are now converting to energy-efficient LED street lighting, which is brighter and more adjustable. LED lights have two key benefits- energy efficiency and long service life. As a longer service life means considerable reductions in maintenance costs.
Intelligent/smart control systems create additional savings potential as the street lighting level can be adjusted (reduced or increased) in line with requirements, thus providing substantial energy savings. Automated control and monitoring system provides better functionality and efficiency which helps in tracking energy consumption.
Smart street lighting technology can provide detailed analytics that would be helpful in the execution and maintenance of street lighting.
Smart street lighting solutions (IoT based analytics and remote monitoring) will empower municipal corporations with invaluable data which can be used to find out if there are leakages or illegal siphoning of electricity. Here again, Iot based analytics and remote monitoring solutions could help to stop energy wastage.
To sum it up, the advantages of smart street lighting are as follows:
-LED saves up to 70% of energy over conventional street lighting systems.
-LED street lighting systems provide easy and simple remote monitoring (ON/OFF, dimming) of these LED lights and thus reduces cost of maintenance.
-Independent operation and auto control of individual light.
-Live monitoring and reporting of electrical parameters like wattage, voltage, current, power, etc. per day, week, and month- all the reports.
Thus, smart street lighting solutions can help municipal corporations reduce the energy consumption and in turn the cost/power bill.
Smart street lighting does not just end at lighting the streets, it is now becoming a centre for monitoring a variety of activities and sharing data with networks. This is how it works.
As street lights are being upgraded to energy efficient LEDs, the poles can now be equipped with cameras, sensors, and power management intelligence. Increased networking capabilities, and integration of technologies would allow businesses, municipal corporations and other local authorities to provide a variety of other services across cities.
With the smart city initiative gaining momentum, Smart Street lighting solution could add value to the initiative and control energy costs to a great extent and reduce the financial burden of municipal corporations.