Smart Lighting for Smart Cities
Smart lighting is becoming integral part of today’s cities. When we talk about smart cities, smart lighting can act as the first step towards realising a smart city’s true potential. Modernization and development of infrastructure to transform cities into smart cities, along with increased demand for intelligent solutions for street lighting systems, are driving the growth of smart lighting market.
Here, subject-matter experts discuss why smart lighting is being considered as a foundation for a smart city. They also discuss on energy efficiency, payback period and bottlenecks associated with smart lighting adoption.
Smart Lighting and India
The lighting industry landscape is changing driven by the rise of energy efficient LED solutions and the large adoption of digital technologies. Smart lighting as an industry is also gaining momentum in India. However, S.P. Garnaik, Executive Director, Business Unit Head (Lighting), Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) points out: “Till now, we have not gone into the way the street lighting as a service it should be by bringing more and more controls and sensors which can actually give a multifaceted service to various stakeholders. Presently the purpose of street lighting is limited to providing the lights i.e. illumination and going forward the smart street lights should be used for providing weather information, putting the surveillance cameras or giving information related to the electricity distributions.” He feels that these value-added services will create new business avenues.
EESL is a joint venture of PSUs under the Ministry of Power. To encourage LED adoption and achieve energy efficiency, Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) and Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP). Under UJALA, EESL has distributed over 36.69 crore LED bulbs across India which has resulted in estimated energy savings of 47.65 billion kWh per year with avoided peak demand of 9,540 MW and estimated GHG emission reduction of 38.59 million tonnes CO2 per year. With SLNP, EESL has installed about 1.14 crore LED streetlights across India.
Mr. Garnaik informed that, recently, EESL has submitted a vision document to Ministry of Power and expects around 7.5 crores of new lighting installation across the municipalities, upcoming smart cities and even in rural India within next 5 years.
Sharing an overview of the smart lighting market, Sachin Rana, Head Smart Cities & Infra Business, Panasonic Life Solutions India said, “Right from 2018 onwards, there has been a tremendous focus on the smart lighting market and it is growing consistently – both at the indoor and the outdoor level. In Asia Pacific, the expected CAGR (compound annual growth rate) is 19% whereas the European market CAGR is 35%. The industry is going to grow tremendously going ahead and we have a right kind of opportunity here”.
According to the reports published by Research and Markets, Indian smart lighting market is expected to reach a value of Rs 373,700 crore by 2023, expanding at a CAGR of around 38.44% during the 2018-2023 period.
Why smart street lighting
Mr Rana highlights the challenges in traditional street lighting systems as: “Traditionally, street lights exist in either ‘On’ or ‘Off’ stage leading to wastage of energy, increased costs when ‘over-illuminated’ and cause safety and security hazards when ‘under-illuminated’. The intricate requirements of a transportation network demand various levels of illumination based on ever changing situations. Cities need an intelligent system to respond to these dynamic changes to ensure safety & security of people and smooth vehicular flow.”
Explaining the benefits of smart lighting Mr Rana said, “Smart lighting brings in that extra (energy) savings over traditional systems. Secondly, it helps in faster responses and turnaround time. Now, with the help of intelligent systems, we can proactively identify a fault so the response times are faster and we are able to maintain high uptimes. Also, most importantly, we will have a proper asset management system wherein we can list out our assets and can monitor them continuously in real time.”
Mr. Garnaik also opines: “The extra energy saving will actually impact to the electricity distribution companies to reduce their peak load particularly in the evening period which is growing day by day. It will also result in reduction in the energy bills for the local bodies like municipalities.” However, Mr Garnaik raised his concern about the longer period (more than 7 years or so) that effects the business model. He also encourages indigenous availability of the technology in India.
Lighting design considerations for smart cities
Sharing her expert opinion on lighting design considerations for smart cities, Architect Surbhi Jindal, Founder, CEO & Principal Architect, DaLightHub said, “As lighting is primarily intended for people, urban illumination should be focused on the human tiexperience with a qualitative social engaging role.” She adds, “We as designers focus on how smart creative lighting solutions can actually enhance the architectural landscapes in a city environment – how can they inspire a city’s nightlife, promote investment in that economy and be a tool for the urban environment. Urban illumination can really help cities create unique visual experiences that are welcoming, fun and inspiring both for the residents, as well as the visitors, reflecting the rhythms of the city and maintaining the identity as well as the brand value of that city.”
According to Ar Surbhi, the Urban Design Compendium highlights lighting as one of five elements for the creation of a thriving public realm, pointing out the importance of planning illumination for pedestrians by utilising different layers of light sources, from street lighting to ambient lighting emitted by advertising boards. Planners need to move away from a narrow concern with lighting roads to a holistic approach to illuminating places.
Thus, she suggests, “The night time environment should be seen as painted by layers of light that emphasizes the city’s monuments, spaces, purposely reducing illumination in less relevant surrounding areas and allowing them to function as a backdrop.”