Solar bollards

  • Posted on: 8 August 2018
  • By: Michael Brydon

Recall that we have been piloting solar bollards on the dark bits of the West Bench walking path.  Although the lights are a bit underwhelming in the winter, their performance is much better in the summer (which is when most people use the path).  Part of the issue is that the lights have powersaving technology to avoid running the battery to zero before dawn. They switch to 30% output 5 hours after dusk, which is one of the reasons the lights are so dim on winter nights (dusk + 5 hours is still before my bedtime in December and January).

We have discussed the possibility of running conduit for wired lighting but that would add a significant layer of cost to something that might eventually be supplanted by better streetlighting.  The solar bollards are a relatively cheap interim solution.

We are therefore placing an order for 22 taller bollards to light the remainder of West Bench Hill Road and Bartlett Drive to Sandstone Drive (see the maps below). We have also opted for the silver finish, to make the bollards less visible and to fit better with the existing light standards on West Bench Hill Road.  The silver finish is shown below at an installation in Saudi Arabia.  The two black lights that are currently installed will be relocated somewhere else.  We plan to pay for the lights and installation using about ~$35K of Area F gas tax funding.



For years residents who chose to walk at night have used flash lights at very little cost. I don't think we need any more lights.

Here is my math on this assuming a 10 year lifespan (which is hopefully well on the low side):

cost 35000  
properties 1060 all of Area F
life 10 years
rate  5%  
pmt $4,532.66  
per property $4.28  

This works out to $4.28 per household per year over 10 years. Of course, we are using gas tax, so property taxes are unaffected by the project.  But gas tax is almost as good as cash, so it is worthwhile to compare the cost to the willingness of citizens to pay.

As I see it, $4.28 is roughly the cost of a 4-pack of AA batteries at Walmart.  So I am not convinced a flashlight is that much cheaper.