As we found out in the previous article (It’s time to change your light), replacing street lighting lamps with LED lights is not only a sound investment, but also a choice of companies that care about consumer comfort, their own image and the environment. Moreover, considering the European vector of development and legislative initiatives of the European Union, such transition is inevitable and will take place soon.
In the European Union, the idea of using LEDs as a source of light for street lighting was immediately appreciated. Indeed, in addition to high-quality light, LED lighting made it possible to save electricity and, as a result, CO2 emissions — a problem to which the authorities of the European Union have always paid great attention. To support the program of LED lighting usage across EU special financial support programs were created. In addition, in 2016, the European Commission adopted a Directive prohibiting the use of Mercury Arc Phosphor and High-Pressure Sodium lamps in connection with the content of harmful substances in them. Almost the only reasonable choice for street lighting lamps are LED lamps.
The trendsetters in the general lighting market, Philips and Osram, the largest manufacturers of traditional lamps, immediately appreciated a promising new market and began to explore a new direction, starting to produce many LED lights. But the price of LEDs was still high, and many consumers did not have the financial ability to upgrade their lighting system. Given this, the EU government has relaxed the conditions and allowed a delay until 2021.
Meanwhile, progress did not stand still. Several generations of LEDs changed, their quality and efficacy increased from 100 lumens per watt to 160-180 lumens per watt. In addition, due to the improvement of technological processes, the price of LEDs has fallen.
So, we got the situation when, on the one hand, there are many expensive lamps of famous manufacturers on the market, with outdated parameters that were released two years ago, counting on the explosive growth in demand after the first Directive of the European Commission.
On the other hand, many manufacturers of LED products realized huge market potential.
Among them were even manufacturers of LEDs for backlighting LED screens, not intended for general lighting. It is impossible for a non-professional to distinguish one from another.
In this situation, consumers either overpay for the brand and get lamps of the past generation with low efficiency at a high price, or, wanting to save money, purchase cheap lamps with reduced characteristics not designed for street lighting at all.

How should a modern lamp for street lighting look like

A LED luminaire, with all its seeming simplicity, is a complex device, in which there are no minor components. Manufacturer of top-quality LED luminaires pays great attention to its design and selection of components using the most modern ones.
Modern LEDs have reached an energy efficiency level of 160-180 lumens per watt and the purchase of luminaires with lower energy efficiency is a controversial investment.
One of the main parameters characterizing the quality of LEDs is the CRI index – color rendering index. This index shows how much the natural colors of objects are distorted when illuminated by a certain light source. For example, High Pressure Sodium lamps have the lowest color rendering index – about 20. First generation of LEDs had CRI of about 60-65. Modern LEDs have a color rendering index of at least 80.
Another important parameter characterizing LEDs is the color temperature of the glow, which is measured in kelvins (K). The human eye distinguishes objects best and is less tired with a color temperature of 4500-5000K. Some poor-quality manufacturers make a marketing trick: they produce lamps with a high glow temperature, from 6000K and higher. The fact is that when the color temperature rises, the brightness of the lamp increases. The buyer catches the bait of a high brightness parameter that he understands and does not pay any attention to the temperature of the light.
A modern lamp should be equipped with a high-quality power supply – a driver. Otherwise, the lamp will not be able to provide good indicators of reliability and efficiency. The market leader of drivers for LED street lighting is company “MeanWell”. The main characteristic of the drivers is Power Factor (PF). This parameter determines the level of interference that the driver generates into the power network. Drivers with low PF produce little interference, but the price for this is low efficiency, compared to drivers with high PF. Considering that the power of modern energy-efficient luminaires is low – about 100-150 watts, the interference level, even when using drivers with a high PF, does not affect other electrical devices, and in large enterprises where there are many luminaries, special filters are used to clean these interference from the electrical network. Therefore, it is more expedient to use drivers with a high PF – this will still not influence the operation of other electrical devices but will allow an increase in driver efficiency by as much as 9%.
The manufacturer of high-quality fixtures pays great attention to the lamp’s case, since it is the main supporting element of the structure and the long uninterrupted operation of the device depends on its reliability, durability and degree of protection from climatic factors.
In addition, the case is a heat sink element that dissipates heat generated during operation of the LEDs. With poor heat dissipation, the LEDs overheat, and their characteristics deteriorate, and with severe overheating, they can break down.
Another feature distinguishing the modern luminaire is the ability to control the luminous flux – dimming, which, in addition to significant energy savings, extends the life of the LEDs by 1.5 times.
Our Company has thoroughly studied LED market and found LED luminaires which are the most suitable for illuminating supermarket parking lots and similar areas. So now we can offer our customers a high-quality LED luminaire with the following parameters:
  • Power: 100 watts;
  • LED crystal manufacturer: Bridgelux; Samsung, Nichia;
  • Efficacy: 160 Lumen/Watt;
  • CRI > 80;
  • Color temperature: 5000К;
  • Dimmable driver: MeanWell;
  • Protection class: IP66;
  • Controller connector – NEMA-socket;
  • Warranty: 5 years.
The luminaire of this type has the best price-quality ratio and will provide the highest economy indicators, especially when used as part of the Smart Parking Light system – intelligent light control.

Why it is so profitable

At first glance, the replacement of traditional lamps with LEDs is associated with increased initial costs and the benefits of such a replacement are often not obvious to the consumer. But in fact, benefits are considerable.
Firstly: the cost of electricity is dramatically reduced. Only a simple replacement of High-Pressure Sodium lamps (with orange colored light) on LEDs allows you to almost halve the cost of electricity. And when using the Smart Light system this value can be increased by another 50%.
Secondly: the maintenance costs of lighting system are seriously reduced. LED lamps can work up to 15 years without replacement. Moreover, the use of Smart Street Light system will increase the service life of LED lamps by another 1.5 times. High Pressure Sodium lamps (HPS) must be changed about once a year. But each replacement of the lamp entails the cost of the lift and labor costs. On average, it is about 20-30 Euro per 1 lamp, not counting the cost of the lamp itself. With the number of lamps in the parking lot of an average size – 40-60 lamps, for 15 years the replacement costs will be a serious value.
Thirdly: the quality of light in your parking lot is considerably improved. It takes on a modern and representative view which, without a doubt, will be highly appreciated by your customers.
Fourthly: it is possible to greatly reduce the level of CO2 emissions, and this fact will be highly appreciated by the European Commission, which makes it possible to count on various tax incentives from the state.
The simplest calculations show that with the seemingly high cost of switching to LED lighting, the payback period of such a decision is only 2 years, with the light quality of another level.
Considering all the above mentioned, it becomes obvious that the transition to LED lighting is not only a necessary measure due to state policy, but also beneficial for economic, social and image reasons.

Further development of LED lamps

Despite the rapid growth of LED performance indicators in recent years, this process cannot continue indefinitely and the development of LEDs in this direction is approaching its theoretical limit. The theoretical limit of LEDs efficacy is 260 lumens per watt of power expended. Currently, this value for high-quality streetlights is about 160-180 lumens per watt. Each subsequent increase in this indicator entails additional costs for research, development and technological re-equipment of production. Moreover, costs grow faster than efficiency gains. Therefore, it is considered that a commercially viable limit of efficiency indicator will be a maximum of 200 lumen per watt. More efficient fixtures are possible, but the price for them will be unreasonably high.
With the development of the LED industry and the emergence of more and more efficient LED crystals, their price has steadily decreased. As the performance limits are reached, the price reduction process will almost stop. Perhaps the price will fall further due to optimization of existing production capacity, but, most likely, only by a small fraction.

Trends in street lighting in the European market

The issue of economical use of energy resources and, as a result, reduction of CO2 emissions in the European Union is currently more urgent than ever. The European Commission encourages the transition to energy-saving technologies, but soon will begin to apply administrative sanctions to consumers using energy-wasting sources of lighting or lamps containing harmful substances.
It is already prohibited to use incandescent lamps, because they are energy wasting, and since 2021, fluorescent lamps and HPS lamps will be banned due to the content of substances and materials harmful to the environment. Therefore, consumers who wish to comply with the rules and regulations of the European Union should take care of resolving the issue with the lighting system as soon as possible, since postponing it won’t bring any financial benefits: the price of LED lamps will not significantly decrease, and the continuation of the operation of outdated lighting systems will not only be economically unprofitable, but will soon be simply illegal.
That is why the modernization of the lighting system using LED lamps will be a profitable investment for your business and will be highly appreciated by both customers and the government.