Energy Efficient and Balanced IoT Solution for Street Light Monitoring and Control System
The way we light up our streets has never been keeping energy efficiency in mind. Almost 10% to 20% of our electricity consumption, sometimes even more in developing countries, can be attributed to inefficient street lighting. There are several challenges to efficient street lighting. Some of the important ones are:
- Street lights left ON even when no longer needed, resulting in avoidable electricity wastage.
- Lack of efficient fault management procedures results in delayed repair of faulty lights. This means that those areas are not lit-up when necessary.
- Poor planning and installation of street lights, coupled with non-uniform quality standards, results in non-uniform light intensity levels. This results in further energy wastage.
- Lack of efficient methods and tools to detect and prevent power theft and leak from the lines supplying the street-lights results in huge revenue loss.
Will Switching on LEDs Help?
With LED fixtures becoming more economical and with increasing awareness of the inefficiencies of older lighting technologies, many organizations are switching to LED lighting. Oftentimes planners are misled into believing that replacing the fluorescent lights with LED fixtures is all that is required to overcome the challenges mentioned above. Though it is true that such a move would result in some energy savings, making the lighting system smarter would result in more significant savings. Studies have shown that integrating street-lights with a networked and intelligent system can boost savings by an additional 30%. Not only would such a move improve energy efficiency on the system, it would also provide a host of other benefits, thus far not seriously considered. It would allow us to develop a lighting system that would respond to our needs and changing situations in a dynamic manner, rather than having us adapt to the changing technology. This would lead to cities becoming truly smart and efficient in the way they consume energy.
Lighting Up the Smart Way
So long as street-lights continue to be operated and maintained manually, power consumption, transmission losses and operational inefficiencies will remain issues facing planners and administrators. Switching street-lighting systems to an energy efficient, smart, intelligent wireless sensor-based network of the Internet of Things (IoT) would enable administrators to dynamically monitor and control the street-lighting in real-time through a secured cloud. Web-based remote clouds provide a dashboard to track and control the actual power consumption for lighting. With cloud data analytics, service providers can better manage the energy consumption by incorporating measures to improve energy efficiency and conservation. The following benefits are likely to accrue from the IoT based solution:
- Scheduling the operations of street-lights to provide the right lighting at the right time and place, without human intervention
- Enabling energy conservation during peak-hours
- Managing energy demand by dimming of street-lights during non-peak hours using adaptive lighting
- Dynamically tracking energy consumption for street lighting
- Fail-safe operations through detection and rectification of faults on street-lighting system
- Detection and prevention of energy theft
- Detection, rectification and minimization of transmission losses
- Enhance public safety through dynamic, need-based efficient street-lighting
- Improved health and comfort due to reduced emissions, brought about by reduced demand for energy
- Enable remote monitoring and management by integration of sensors
- Integration with the existing infrastructure using wireless solutions
- Provide a manual-override option for any unplanned for situation
Street-lighting solutions based on the IoT would, therefore, reduce emissions by way of reduced energy consumption from efficient street-lights. The data thus generated through such systems, would provide several insights for further cost reductions, improving operational efficiency and, therefore, providing improved services and enhancing user experiences. Due to the varied nature of requirements for various locations and situations, it is not possible to have a one-size-fits-all solution. Each situation needs a specific solution. Moreover, existing infrastructure, budget availability and effort required will have to be considered before deciding on a solution. Keeping this in view, we can arrive at two broad categories of solutions:
Phase-wise Control – This is a cheaper solution and involves control of street-lights based on phases but is not suited for controlling each light independently.
Individual Light Control – This solution seeks to control each street-light individually. However, this solution would not be economical unless new streetlights are being installed or existing lamps are being replaced with LED lights.
The Time of Streetlight Automation is Upon Us
Given the dynamics of the environment and need to offer customized solutions, it is not possible to identify any single solution as the best for a given city . The challenge is to have an optimal balance of short-term, medium-term, and long-term requirements against the costs and benefits of different network options. The answer would lie to the question whether the proposed network has the bandwidth, flexibility, and functionality to meet current and anticipated needs at an affordable cost. Suffolk county made savings of over Pounds 5 million by implementing smart, adaptive street-lighting.
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