DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF A SOLAR POWERED STREETLIGHT SYSTEM

Postgraduate

Abstract  
Illumination is one of  the factors for determining the development level of  any community. Due to the erratic nature of  power  in  the  Nigeria, an  alternative, reliable and  efficient  source  of  power  must  be looked  into.  The  alternative  source  must  also  be  able  to  save  power.  This  informed the  idea  behind
this project. The solution  herein  proposed  is  solar  powered street light with automatic switching. The system will include the solar panels,  charge  controllers/switching unit, inverter, battery bank and  the luminaires. This system will function by turning the luminaires on at night and turning off the luminaires

at  dawn  automatically  while  charging  takes  place  when  the  luminaires  are  off.  The combination  of these  units  will result  in  well-lit  roads  using  a  reliable  and efficient  power  source.  The system being tested  has  been  confirmed  to  be  very  reliable  and  efficient  as  a  solar  panel  can  be used  for  an average of 25 years. 

INTRODUCTION
In distinguishing between a developed and an undeveloped community, a criterion normally considered is the brightness of the community at night. This factor affects the economy of Africa in numerous ways. Because of this fact Africa has been tagged the “Dark Continent”. It can be observed from satellite images taken at night that Africa is still underdeveloped. A major problem is in power generation in Africa. Power generated in Africa is insufficient and cannot cater for
the needs of outdoor lights. Over the years the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity has not produced enviable results. Besides, fossil fuels have caused a lot of havoc to the ecosystem with Africa not being able to tap into the advantages of using fossil fuels to generate electricity. Therefore the need for an alternative source of generating electricity arises. The alternative source must be cheap, reliable and efficient.
An alternative energy source is solar energy. This is a preferable choice as Africa is in the tropics with considerable amount of sunlight in a day that can be converted into electricity.
Solar energy utilisation is on the rise in our modern world as the fossil fuels have great adverse effect on our environment. Solar energy as a form of renewable energy has been in use since the times of Archimedes in 212 BC. At the time solar energy was being converted to heat energy for defence purposes. Other notable scientists have made countless improvements in the utilisation of solar
energy since then. In 1839, Edmond Becquerel a French scientist discovered the photovoltaic effect.
In 1966 the first orbiting astronomical observatory was launched by NASA which was powered by 1KW photovoltaic array. As at 1999 the cumulative installed photovoltaic capacity in the world had skyrocketed to 1000MW. Today, solar energy is being used to generate electricity worldwide