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The relationship between LED and solar energy


Many in the signage industry have become accustomed to using LED modules for interior lighting signage cabinets, aisle lettering, panel signage and a variety of other uses. LED modules are easy to install, and LED module manufacturers provide recommended spacing parameters. They are a brighter, more efficient replacement for the outdated incandescent and fluorescent bulb predecessors. However, they don't always fit well when paired with a solar system.

Sign makers are used to following LED module makers' module placement guidelines, or they just fill the sign with as many LEDs as possible so that customers have a super bright sign that stands out from the rest. This is totally understandable when they are powered by grid-tied electricity. LEDs are very low power compared to what we're used to, and it doesn't cost much to power them with electricity. But what if the sign doesn't have easy access to electricity? What if it costs over $8,000 to dig into the sign's power supply? Then you need to consider an alternative power source. You need to choose solar.

For solar lighting systems, for each watt of power consumption, we need to provide matching solar panel and battery capacity. This needs to use as little power (watts) as possible, but still provide enough light for the purpose. The problem with LED modules is that they fit directly behind the front of the sign and direct light out of the front of the sign. The light has no chance to bounce in the cabinets before leaving the sign. They illuminate a small area directly in front of them, that's all. This led to the use and installation of many modules to illuminate the sign.

As mentioned before, we need to save electricity in solar lighting systems, so we need to use less LED modules, or use different types of lamps. Using fewer LED modules will result in uneven light distribution, so this may not always be the best option. Another successful option for many of our sign light customers is to use LED strips. Light bars are mounted on the perimeter of the sign cabinet and point directly into the center of the sign. Light bounces around the cabinet and provides an even distribution of light across the surface of the sign. A reflective paint overlay on the inside of the cabinet can help enhance the final effect.
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