Created in 1991, the Oxford Science Park, owned and managed by Magdalen College Oxford, delivers high quality commercial offices and laboratories for science and technology-based companies. Ten years ago, former resident Zeta Specialist Lighting, provided what was then cutting-edge solar-powered lighting for the 700 metre long pathway. This made the company the first port of call for Park Services Manager Robert Horsfield who was looking to upgrade the legacy lighting and leverage the very latest solar technology.
The Park was keen to utilise solar technology for two reasons – to avoid the cost associated with linking into a mains connection and to minimise its environmental impact.
The key objectives were to substantially increase the lighting levels, whilst minimising light pollution as the pathway backed onto a residential area. Furthermore as the Oxford Science Park has ongoing plans and outline planning allocation to create additional office and laboratory space on the remaining acres of land during the next ten years, it was looking to future-proof its investment, installing a system that could be relocated to another site, if the area was to be built on in future years.
The SolisPOLE includes technologically advanced photovoltaic cells that are incorporated into the frame of the pole and mounted vertically to provide a unique solution for optimum solar capture. Zeta’s Energy Management System, also incorporated, optimises energy capture and continually monitors the maintenance-free batteries’ condition to ensure year round reliability. In order to further optimise energy efficiency, prior to installation, Zeta incorporated PIR sensor capability. The sensor activates when movement is detected within five metres, increasing the light output for the duration and then dims until the next person or cyclist passes by.
The estate has been created to have minimal impact on the environment and local community, which made Zeta’s solar-powered solution a perfect fit.
Minimising the environmental cost as opposed to the monetary cost of the project was the key driver for the Park, however with the Solis Nano, it is benefiting on both counts. The overall environmental impact of a solar-powered system is much lower than one powered by electricity. Additionally, this off-grid solution removed any requirement to dig and lay cabling, making the cost to install significantly less than a traditional lighting solution. As the lights are powered by solar energy there are no energy bills to pay,
the LEDs are long lasting and require little or no maintenance, and the PIR sensor capability further optimises energy efficiency.
The pathway is busy during park opening hours, with people using it as a cut-through and to access the nearby children’s nursery, all of which made further improving the light levels a priority. Keeping light pollution to an absolute minimum due to the nearby housing development was a high priority and this has been achieved thanks to the in-built PIR sensors combined with the lower light-polluting features of modern LEDs. When the sensors are activated, the Solis Nano runs at 4W, the light stays on for one minute and then dims down. The units are set to run from dusk until dawn.
Furthermore the ability to relocate the Solis Nanos and as when required was an additional benefit delivered by Zeta’s solar-powered solution.