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Solar Arena Lighting - What to know before making your purchase!

23rd Sep 2020

Do you want to add Solar lights to your riding arena but really do not know where to start?

It is so easy to be overwhelmed with an abundance of information, lighting up your horse arena is one of those jobs that you just want to get right the first time. Largely because of the time and money involved, you do not want to be disappointed if the lights do not perform. My intention with this blog is to hopefully provide quality advice with what to look for when buying LED Solar Horse Arena Lights.

When looking to install lighting on your horse arena it is a good idea to do your research and make sure that you weight up all of the options, solar powered, lights can be run by a generator or connected to the mains. Solar lighting may seem like the “easy way” when you think it is as simple as putting a light on a pole, but there are a few more things to consider.

We get quite a few enquiries on LED Solar Lights to suit a horse arena. Unfortunately like with most things “Equine” the supplier/contractor generally assumes you are just another horsey person willing to throw money at a system without carrying out your own due diligence on the subject matter. Hopefully, this blog will provide you with quality information enabling you to understand a few key technical points that will assist you when researching Solar Powered LED Lighting Designs for your horse arena.

Top things to consider when choosing Solar Lighting Systems for your horse arena.

  • 1)How many hours of light will you use your arena?
  • 2)How often will you use your arena?
  • 3)How far away from Mains power is your arena located?
  • 4)How much light you want on your arena?

Why do you need to ask yourself these questions when selecting LED Solar lights for your arena? The answer is there is a basic algorithm that you can use to work out if the Solar Lighting System is going to meet your requirements. Look at it as a way, it will enable you to double check on the salesman/ company and make sure the information they are providing you with is accurate.

21V (Battery Voltage)X 23.4 Ah (Ampere Hour) divided by 150W (LED Light Wattage)

= Hours of light use on a FULL CHARGE 3hrs of light off a full charge.

This is then followed by how many days of actual sunlight do you receive per day? The closer to the Equator the more sunlight you receive. For example: if you live in Southern NSW or Victoria the average amount of Sunny days is 100. The majority of these being in Summer, when do you want to use the lights. In Winter this is when the days are shorter, and the whole point of installing lighting on your horse arena is because you are can extend your riding hours (under lights).

If you are located not too far from the Mains Power, consider getting a quote on hard wired lights. You might just be surprised at the cost difference, and you can guarantee that you can flip a switch and have light all night long every night. With the new technology LED lights the cost of running lights on your horse arena is very efficient once you have outlaid the initial expense. By carefully selecting the right ones they will also be maintenance free. The benefits include light when you need and want them, no ongoing maintenance. Maintenance is an important thing to consider because, if you have got to hire a machine to replace/ adjust the light fittings, even if it’s just on a few occasions the costs can quickly add up.

Deciding on how much light you require on your arena but, taking into consideration the uniformity will minimalise shadows. Are reducing shadows on your arena important to you. This will depend on the discipline you are riding, the age of the horses you are riding and who will be using your arena. Some people are happy to have light, others want to be more specific about there requirements and meeting the lighting standards. Meeting the minimum Light Standards for a riding arena may be of interest if you are going to be hiring out the arena, for insurance purposes. Thus, being a major component when looking for arena lighting. It will be a deciding factor with how many light fittings will be required and the height and quantity poles required to achieve the desired outcome.

So, what else do I need to know about a solar lighting package to suit a riding arena. Well the other main component is the solar panel. What size solar panel is required to ensure you reach the maximum charge on your battery. As a guide, you require a solar panel that is equal to double the light fitting. Sticking with the example in BLUE above you would require a 300W solar panel. Think of it this way. The bigger the panel the more opportunity it will have to make power and thus charge the battery. Once again you can check these details yourself with another algorithm.

21V (Battery Voltage)X 23.4 Ah (Ampere Hour) divided by 100W (Solar Panel Wattage) x 0.8

= Hours required to fully charge the battery 6hrs of sunlight to reach full charge.

That takes care of the Lights and the Solar Panel but still you need to mount the lights to poles.

What do you need to take into consideration when selecting poles for your arena lighting?

  • The height of the poles, the higher the poles the better uniformity of the light. You know when you hold a torch to the ground it has a very intense light in one spot, the further back you pull the light the more dispersion you get. The height of the poles will also need to be high enough so that the light is not shining in both the horse and the rider’s eyes. We generally recommend between 6-8m high poles.
  • Where should you position the poles around the arena? This will depend on the overall light that you expect to have once the arena lights have been installed. For more consistent lighting the poles should be positioned evenly down both sides of the arena reducing shadows.
  • Installation of the poles. Sure, you can get someone handy to concrete a pole in the ground. But we always recommend that you use poles that are compliant and meet the Australian Standards. To avoid any liability in the future should an accident occur during the use of the arena. Particularly important if you are going to be hiring out your arena to agistment clients or for clinics (whether they are using the lights or not they are still there).
  • Different types of poles. Which pole best meets your requirements will depend on your property. Are your solar panels easy to access for cleaning and replacing the battery? Both of which are basic maintenance required for optimal performance of Solar arena lights. If you have access to both these things a regular pole would be fine. If you cannot access the solar panel or battery on your solar arena lighting you should consider a folding pole that will enable you access to do the maintenance required on your lighting system. Remember to consider the aesthetics, maybe you want the poles to match a certain style of your property, you can consider powder coating the pole to match in.

What are the advantages of Solar Lighting or your horse arena?

  • No ongoing electricity bill.
  • No need to hire an electrician.

Disadvantages to Solar Arena Lighting?

  • Solar Arena Lights are not suitable for all areas
  • They are not maintenance free
  • They are reliant on the sun. Therefore, you cannot guarantee the charge in the batteries before you saddle up and ride. Do you want to take that risk?
  • Not all solar lights are equal – Do your research. Buy from a reputable company that is prepared to work out the best solution to meet your requirements. Buying what lights are available at the local hardware store, may lead to disappointment. Not only with the quality of the light but, the after sales service.

What ongoing maintenance is required for Solar Horse Arena Lighting?

Solar lights have rechargeable batteries. After a while they will begin to reduce the amount of charge that they hold. Once they no longer meet your requirements they will need to be replaced. It is a good idea to consider where they are located for ease of accessibility.

Solar panels need to be positioned where they can receive the maximum amount of sunlight, to optimise their ability to fully charge. Dust particles on solar panels can impact the effectiveness of the solar panels, if you are in an area of low rainfall you will need to carry this out more regularly. With a good clean required once a year. Again, it is a good idea these are positioned in an easy to access position to avoid having to hire in machinery.

In conclusion, before making a decision on your arena lighting.

  • Consider your lighting requirements. Including the amount of light you expect on your horse riding arena. If you are concerned about shadowing on your arena. Are you going to be hiring it out?
  • Access your property for the suitability of Solar Lighting. Ensuring there are no obstructions that will impact the performance of your solar panels. i.e. Trees, direction of the sun etc.
  • Take into consideration the accessibility for maintenance of solar panels and batteries for optimal performance of your arena lights
  • Do your research on the lighting product you wish to purchase. Checking the backup service in case of any warranty issues.
  • Compare hard wired in options. As they generally have a lower lifetime cost with less maintenance required for the lifetime of the light. Plus, the light is guaranteed to run for as long as required (except when power is out).

We hope you have found this blog to be informative. Feel free to check out our other blogs on our arena lighting solutions. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch.