Moving to solar lighting may prove beneficial in the fight against the triple crisis of climate change, rising energy costs, and energy sourcing challenges. Solar lighting, which requires no fossil fuels to operate, should be included among post-COVID recovery plans throughout the EU.
REPowerEU, which forms part of the European Commission’s larger Recovery and Resilience Facility, aims to lessen the EU’s dependence on fossil fuel imports. A greater emphasis on solar energy is at the heart of the facility’s framework. At Signify, we agree that solar lighting is an important element in the plan to diversify the EU’s energy supplies and accelerate the rollout of renewable energy.
“These crises offer us an opportunity to leapfrog into solar, when considering how we light our lives,” says Harry Verhaar, the Head of Global Public & Government Affairs at Signify. “We’re already seeing the electrification of vital sectors to reduce our energy demands and light should not be an exception. Using solar can relieve the grid, improve resilience, develop safer communities, and allow more remote places to benefit from light,” Verhaar adds.
Solar lighting for street lights can help take pressure off of the grid, either alone or as a component of hybrid peak-shaving solutions where built-in batteries are charged throughout the day and then used during peak hours.
The opportunity is enormous. Replacing the EU27’s entire stock of 56 million street lights with hybrid-solar lamps would reduce carbon emissions by 12 Mt per year, an amount equivalent to the absorption capacity of a forest half the size of Belgium. It would also free up the grid to enable the recharging of 7.3 million electric vehicles for a whole year.