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Intelligent solar cell light columns from Alfred Priess A/S

EKTOS A/S has developed controllers for Alfred Priess A/S for their eco-friendly light columns.

The Danish company Alfred Priess A/S originates in Vinderup near Holstebro, but today the company sheds its light in several parts of the world with its energy efficient, designed street lighting solutions.

Alfred Priess has just launched a new product range of solar cell lighting columns and in collaboration with Priess, EKTOS has helped develop a controller based on the wish for having more functionality at a lower cost.

The new solar cell lighting columns from Priess communicate together in a mesh network using 868 MHz, so they can send data between each other. The masts have Wi-Fi access which means that the lamp’s energy consumption can be easily monitored and the light profiles can be updated without physically visiting the lamp.

Energy efficient lighting

The solar cell lighting columns are equipped with sensors that can measure the activity on the street and regulate the brightness accordingly. If there is no traffic, the columns can reduce their energy consumption to a minimum, and reversely, when a column detects a cyclist or pedestrian, it will send a signal to the next column on the line telling it to light brighter.

Solar cell lighting columns from Priess store energy from the sun during the daylight hours and uses this to light up in the dark. The amount of solar energy, it is possible utilize has increased significantly in recent years, Ole Søndergaard, Product Manager at Priess says: “Time is on our side. When I started working for Priess in 2011, our solar cells were utilizing 12.9% of the sun’s energy, but today’s solar cells are able to utilize 19.6%. ”

Ole Søndergaard adds that it is not only the solar cells, which have become more efficient, “Our LED lamps have also become much more efficient as well – five years ago they could deliver between 75-85 lumens per. watt, but today they can deliver up to 140 lumens per. watt. ”

 

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Smart and cost effective solutions

Cooperation between Alfred Priess A/S and EKTOS A/S has been based on the common perception that the quality of technical solutions should be reached at a reasonable price. “We have sought technical solutions that would be cheaper than previous products but with higher performance and more technologies included. For example, our controller delivers four times as much power with its 250 watt output versus the 65 watts in the past,” says Project Manager at EKTOS, Jacob Eisenhardt. Jacob adds that the modular structure of the developed solution allows Priess to mount only the relevant modules of a light column instead of having to install an entire package, where some components will not be used.

“We have sought technical solutions that would be cheaper than previous products but with higher performance and more technologies included”, says Project Manager at EKTO Jacob Eisenhardt.

Log on to a lamp

It is possible to monitor each column online in order to see how much energy the solar cells produce, how much the LED driver is using, and how much energy it takes to charge the batteries. With this knowledge, it is possible to adjust the light profiles for each lamp in order to ensure that the energy is optimally utilized – this is possible without the help of a technician.

“Configuring the software requires a visit at each lamp, but with Near Field Communication on a smartphone it is easy to perform this update by simply placing the phone close to the mast,” explains Jacob Eisenhardt.

Effective troubleshooting

EKTOS conducted HALT testing (Highly Accelerated Life Testing) on the developed product in order to quickly identify the weaknesses of both hardware and software. “We found a weakness in our first prototype, which would only have shown itself after several years of use, but because we could accelerate the effects of stress from the environment, we had the opportunity to improve the prototype before it was put into production,” says type test manager at EKTOS Morten Skov Hansen.

Solar cell lighting columns from Priess can be found along several roads and trails in Denmark, but Priess’ largest customers are currently in the Netherlands and the Middle East. The new solar cell columns that EKTOS has helped develop controllers for will be erected in Abu Dhabi, where they can be seen from May 2016.

More information

Jacob Eisenhaardt
Account Manager
jei@ektos.net