How to import Solar Street Lights from China

How to import Solar Street Lights from China?

If you use a single 10 watts LED bulb for five hours a day at an average price of $10 per kWh, you will pay $15 per month. That’s for just one bulb. On average, a household has more than 20 bulbs, excluding other electronics.

Factor in 20 bulbs into the above calculation, and you end up with over $300 bill every month just to power 20 bulbs from an underground grid. That might not sound much but consider how much you would spend when you calculate 10 years into the above calculations!

You end up with over $3000 per annum or $30,000 per decade to power 20 bulbs only (not any other electric appliance).

This is only for a single household bulb and not a street light with an average power of over 1000 watts. Use that in the calculations, and you will end up with hundreds and thousands of dollars every month to power the electricity consumption of a single street light only. This is only true considering outdoor lighting costs $10 billion worth of electricity every year globally.

Single Solar street lights have an average cost of over $100 – $200 only. While it might seem pricey for some, consider how much it can help manufacturers, companies, and business owners to save over months and years.

If you’re someone who cares for the environment and climate change, here are some interesting facts for you. Over 40% of Carbon Dioxide (the major greenhouse gas) emission globally is due to electricity production only. The more electricity you use from an underground grid, the more you are contributing to the melting of the glaciers, warming of the world, and drastic climate changes; that, by the way, is far more dangerous than the COVID.

That is why solar street lights have been trending for quite some time now; the market has been growing from 2019 and is projected to reach over $48 billion by 2027. This, along with the government’s initiative under the UN’s climate action program for clean energy, will foster the market economy even more. Hence even if you don’t want to plant solar street lights, they still might be an excellent investment to consider. Plus, they also require very low maintenance, which means once you install them, you can forget about them for a long time.

Benefits of buying solar street lights

Besides being highly convenient and cost-friendly, there are tons of benefits to buying solar street lights.

Installation choice – Install anywhere

Trenching is very expensive when it comes to establishing a connection to the primary power grid. Not only that, its cost is highly variable and depends especially on the location.

For solar street lights, however, you can skip trenching and wiring altogether. Install them anywhere that pleases you without worrying much about hiring professionals and laborers to establish a proper connection to the main power grid.

Being independent of the utility grid, the choice of location on Installation can be almost universal. All you need to make sure is that the ground holds the solar street light tightly in a place where the sun can gently pour some light over its panels. That’s all.

solar powered street light

Low maintenance

Since the solar street lights are not connected to the main utility grid, their operating costs are dramatically reduced. Not only that, compared to the conventional street, they require very low maintenance, have meager running costs, and have a longer life expectancy compared to regular street lights.

Conventional street lights convert only 20% of the input electricity into light, while 80% is converted into heat. This problem of overheating in regular street lights alone translates into high maintenance costs mainly because if the temperature issues are not solved from time to time, it could lead to the eventual degradation of the light source itself.

The fact, however, is not true for solar street lights that can reportedly have an efficiency of as high as 40%. And if the number doesn’t surprise you yet, know that a yield of 40% in electronic physics is considered very high.

Higher efficiency means lower chances of overheating and still lower chances of worrying about the degradation of the lights.

Plus, a traditional street light has a life span of 5 years, and if the average replacement/maintenance cost of each bulb is about $300, it will take almost $30,000 for the maintenance costs of 100 traditional street lights per annum only.

While the only replacement costs solar street lights need are mainly batteries. And that too about every five years. A normal battery for solar street light averages around $600 only.

Easy Installation

Explore the Internet, and you will find out how easy it is to Install Solar street lights. They generate their energy and don’t require any major connections from the main utility grid.

All you have to do is Install a strong foundation, fix the batteries by following the given circuit diagram properly, fix the solar panels on the pole, and erect the pole. That’s it. You’ve got yourself a brand new solar street light in less than 2 hours.

Also, make sure you place the controller inside the lamp before for better performance.

Better return on Investment

As stated before, the solar street lights market is expected to grow up to USD 48 billion by 2027 from its current market of USD 12 billion in 2020. This means the market is going to grow explosively in the coming 5 years.

An experimental study published in The International Journal of Engineering and Science shows that solar street lights are cost-effective and have a payback period of fewer than 2 years. Along with its long lifespan, that makes them one of the perfect investments for future investors, who could import solar street lights from China at relatively lower costs, wait for the market to boom, and make huge profits from imported solar street lights.

Optimum lighting

Traditional LED solar street lights gave more blue-white light, which resulted in the creation of glares on the road and disruption of circadian rhythms (the intrinsic sleep cycles depending on the biological clock in humans). However, the design of modern street lights allows them to give optimum lighting on a warmer side.

Today, LEDs are available in a wide range of color temperatures. At the same time, the controversial high-pressure sodium lights are available in a single color temperature only on the warmer side.

Solar street lights have the best CRIs (color rendering index) in the market ranging from around 65 to 95. In contrast, the traditional high-pressure and low-pressure sodium lights have the worst CRI values in the market, averaging around 25 on a scale of 100.

A CRI is the measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects in comparison to natural light. It means that it will be easier for your eyes to see things in the surrounding under a solar street light at night than the other.

solar street light light distribution

Renewable energy source

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to know that solar energy is one of the cleanest energy sources. It is renewable and has almost zero carbon emissions.

With 40% of greenhouse gases coming only from electric power plants, solar street lights provide an innovative solution to global warming and climate change. Governments and nations worldwide have already started initiatives to convert traditional street lighting into solar street lighting. It is highly appreciated by the UN climate action project.

5 things you need to look into before purchasing a solar street light

Before you start to import solar street lights from China or go on a shopping spree for the said reason, here are 5 things you need to look into for solar street lights.

Solar Panel: monocrystalline silicon VS  polycrystalline silicon

The first thing you should look into is whether the solar panel features monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon.

solar panel

Both the monocrystalline and polycrystalline are excellent options. The significant difference is that the former features solar cells made with a single silicon crystal while the latter features many silicon fragments melded together.

From this information alone, you can easily deduce that monocrystalline panels will be costly but with higher efficiency than polycrystalline panels that are way cheaper and have lower efficiency.

But do not let the costs confuse you because a higher efficiency means fewer panels would be needed and vice versa for polycrystalline cells. It also means that you would need a larger space to accommodate all the polycrystalline solar panels (not space-efficient), while monocrystalline are costly but are very space-efficient.

It’s pretty easy to spot a polycrystalline panel. Look for a non-uniform look/texture and a speckled blue hue in the panel, and if present, it’s a polycrystalline panel.

The final major difference between the 2 is that monocrystalline panels are more heat resistant (hence a longer lifespan) and perform better in low light conditions. The same cannot be said about polycrystalline silicon.

Battery

There are several things you need to know about the Battery of Solar street lights. Let’s break it down into digestible chunks;

LifePO4 Battery

Battery Types

The best type of batteries to be integrated for solar street lights are Lithium batteries. True that they are expensive, but they become much more affordable in the long term.

There are two main types of Lithium batteries that you should consider. LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries and Ternary Lithium batteries.

The best thing about LiFePO4 Batteries is their wide range of temperature resistance (-40℃ – 70℃). This, coupled with their deep cycle charging (quick charging in a few hours of intense sunlight to discharge slowly throughout the evening)of up to 3000 cycles, makes them the perfect choice for an environment of any kind. They also have a slow discharge rate, do not have a memory effect, do not explode, and can be used efficiently for up to 8 to 10 years.

The only disadvantage is that they are the most expensive of all battery types.

On the other hand, Ternary Lithium batteries have deep cycles of up to 1000 cycles and a working temperature of around -35 to 50 degrees celsius. The best thing about ternary lithium batteries is that they have the best low-temperature resistance in the market and are recommended for cold areas.

The major disadvantage is that they have low resistance for high-temperature conditions and may also explode if produced in a faulty manner by an unqualified manufacturer.

New battery and second battery

It is recommended that you get a new battery whenever you can. Second-hand batteries have a short lifespan and are also dangerous to use since a lot of batteries tend to explode.

Make sure you get your batteries from a qualified manufacturer. This is also why you shouldn’t get second-hand batteries; people sell batteries either because they have faulty performance or have found a better alternative for what they are going to sell to you.

solar street light battery comparison

Battery capacity

Determination of battery capacity is a part of the battery sizing procedure for solar street lights. The battery capacity you will need will depend not only on the days of required autonomy for your solar street lights but will also be dependent on the voltage and watts of the LEDs you use, the kind of battery you want to use, and its Depth of Discharge and of course the size of the panel itself.

It is recommended you seek professional help to calculate the battery capacity you will need for your required conditions. There are, however, easy-to-follow guidelines on the internet on proper battery sizing that you can check out.

LED Lamp

There are different types of LED lights that you can opt for. SMD type of LED light is most commonly used in solar street lighting.

There are tens of different subtypes of SMD LED lights. The three most commonly used solar street lights are SMD 2835, SMD 5050, and SMD 3030.

The interpretation of these alien numbers and letters is pretty easy. SMD means “Surface-mounted device” (aka one that doesn’t use wires and hence lowers resistance and increases power and voltage), and the numbers indicate the dimensions. For example, SMD 2835 means the LED light is 2.8mm wide and 3.5mm long.

SMD2835 features newly developed technologies. They are very small but are highly efficient. They have very low electrical resistance (which explains the efficiency), making them very bright. The small size also allows a number of them to be clustered together for very bright lighting.

SMD5050 chips are also quite bright; however, in comparison are less bright than the 2835 chips. The best thing about them is that 5050 strips are almost always available in color-changing styles, and this makes them a perfect choice for balancing the light temperatures of solar street lights.

SMD3030, on the other hand, are the cheaper options and, although they do offer quite a good efficiency overall, are less bright than the 2835 and the 5050 versions. That being said, they are best when it comes to the diffuse style of lighting and the kind of lightning that’s soft on the eyes.

Smart controls

Modern Solar street lights feature built-in smart controls and sensors that make them greener to have and safer to use and make operational management much, much easier, reducing the overall costs drastically.

solar street light smart control

Some technologically advanced models even provide phenomenal adaptive lighting technology that optimizes the lighting density and efficiency based on weather, traffic density, light density, and several other conditions using smart sensors and built-in microcontrollers.

With your purchase, you can even request additional sensors that will help you collect lighting data from different solar street lights in different areas, which you can later use to analyze areas and times with solar street light activity of less or greater than average activity across all the other solar street lights.

Some smart solar street lights also have video surveillance features that help improve security without purchasing and installing a separate security camera on the spot. The video features can also be used to monitor traffic density.

Price

While you might find solar street lights a little more pricey than conventional lights, it’s not the case at all.

Solar street lights, in contrast to traditional street lights, generate electricity. This means you don’t have to worry about electricity bills here. Furthermore, solar street lights do not require any electrical infrastructure (connections to the grid, long wires, trenches, etc.), drastically reducing installation costs.

Finally, the maintenance costs for solar street lights are very low. They require the least maintenance of all the different lighting technologies, as we discussed previously.

When you add all these different factors up, it becomes crystal clear who is the winner: solar street lights.

In the long term, Solar street lights will cost you 50% of your traditional lights.

Can you charge your solar street lights without the Sun?

Yes, you can charge solar street lights without the sun. There are several different ways employed. Do remember, however the best way to charge the solar street light is with direct sunlight only.

If there is diffused sunlight instead of direct sunlight, you can simply raise the efficiency of a solar panel by several folds by simply cleaning the solar panel with a soft cloth and some water. Do not apply detergents. They will cause streaking of the panels, which can be very bad.

Another method is to mimic the sunlight by using high-efficiency LED lights on Indacest lights to charge the solar panels. You can also use a mirror to direct light onto the panel to help it charge the solar street light.

Finally, the solar street lights can still accept a connection from the primary power grid or the main power line. If the situation calls for some lighting but the solar street lights are not charged, they can still be operated by a simple, temporary connection from the utility grid.

Reasons to buy solar street lights from China

Wide variety

The world’s top-notch, best solar and solar panel companies are from China. The top 3 companies, JinkoSolar, JA Solar, and Trina Solar, are all based in China.

What’s more, China holds 70-80% of the supply of the whole world’s Solar Panels only. It’s only natural for Chinese companies to maintain their quality, improve their technologies, and continue bringing innovations to the market to hold their positions in the industry.

You can find all sorts of solar street lights from authentic, registered Chinese companies. From solar street lights that feature outdated technology, no longer made in the other parts of the world, to ultra-modern solar street lights, you can find them all. What’s more, China is one of the major exporters of electronic spare parts in the world. What you can’t find in your country or region, you can find it in China (which opens up a great business opportunity for you, by the way).

From small battery parts and microsensors to panels and poles, you can get everything from China.

Quality Products

Being a country that hosts the giants to the solar market, it’s only natural to assume that the Chinese products are very high quality.

Besides being very high quality, Chinese products are relatively cheap, especially when you buy products in bulk. Combining these two qualities has made China the top exporter of goods in the world. After all, who wouldn’t like to have high-quality products at low prices?

The normal American view about China is that Chinese products are of low quality. The narration is mainly due to the tensions created by middlemen amidst the fumes of the trade war during which only 38% of Americans viewed China favorably. The narration couldn’t be more false.

To put it in the Vincero Watches CEO and Co-founder Tim Nybo’s words: “Chinese companies are more than capable of producing great products, tensions between buyers and builders often get in the way.” You can read his whole story about how his views changed about China here on Forbes.

What can you find from China?

There are 2 major types of solar street lights you need to know about; the traditional Split type and the all-in-one type. You can find both of these types from almost all the major Chinese companies.

All-in-one Solar street lights

The all-in-one solar street light, also known as integrated solar street lights, features a compact design where the 4 major components of a solar street light, the panels, the light source, the battery, and the controller, are all integrated into one compact, easy-to-handle design.

The all-in-one design also comes equipped with technologically advanced motion sensors and time control modes. The former increases the lamp’s brightness upon sensing a person walking nearby, and the latter controls the lamp’s brightness during different, programmed time stamps throughout the night.

The integrated design is also fairly easy to install. Takes less than 30 minutes. And is very easy to handle and easier to carry around since it’s only a single product.

all in one solar street light

Split solar street lights

This is the more traditional design in solar street lights that not many companies in the west feature anymore because of its low market value. However, you can still find it available in many Chinese firms.

As the name suggests, split solar street lights feature a split design; that is, all the major components of the light are not integrated into a single product. This means that you’ll have to dig a pit for the kit, controller, and battery, fix the solar panel on the pole, fix the lamp properly, and probably hire a professional to help you with the proper wiring of the parts. All this is not true for integrated solar street lights.

The Split solar street lights do not feature Intelligent controls as well. Which means they don’t have motion sensors or time controls. This means 100% brightness throughout the length of the night whether a person walks by or not.

However, compared to Integrated solar street lights, Split solar street lights are more flexible. The solar panels’ angles can be adjusted as desired to maximize the gains from solar energy. This is not true to integrate solar street lights, the panels of which are mounted onto the lightning fixture.

solar street light

Split VS Integrated solar street lights

The majority of the giants in the market focus more on the production and marketing of Integrated solar street lights because they are easier to handle and carry around, are also very cost-effective, and have longer lifespans. There are very few companies that sell split solar street lights.

Integrated solar street lights are always a better choice since they are easy, quick to install, and easier to maintain. Their batteries are Lithium-ion instead of the lead-acid found in the split solar street lights. This means that Integrated solar street lights’ batteries last longer and can endure a wide variety of weathers.

Finally, the initial investments for the integrated solar street lights seem to be higher, but in the long run, these investments can be more profitable. And since the world demands integrated solar street lights, it adds a cherry on top.

Guide on How to Import Solar street Lights from China

Find the Dealer

The first and foremost thing you need is to find an authentic dealer who works for a registered company. Make sure to read your country’s regulations on Importing from China and specific companies before signing any deals.

There are several ways to find the right dealer for you: one that supplies the right products and manages the pricing and payments well.

A simple google search for Chinese companies is the first logical option. Chinese companies do make a lot of appearances on social platforms and google. However, you do have to use the right keywords to land on a good dealer. Specifying the location in your names and the exact product you want will help your initial searches for a dealer.

Alibaba

There are various B2B Marketplaces where you can find plenty of Chinese dealers and manufacturers. Alibaba is one of the major websites where you can find almost every Chinese dealer and manufacturer.

Alibaba is a Chinese company makes it even a better place to find Chinese dealers and manufacturers. What better place to find Chinese dealers than on an actual Chinese B2B platform?

However, you need to be aware that not everyone on these B2B marketplaces practices transparency. A lot of times, you might simply encounter a reseller disguised as an authentic dealer.

To avoid an unpleasant and unfortunate event, make sure you order sample products first and have an extensive talk with the said dealer before closing any deals. Only when you are 100% sure that you are dealing with a proper dealer should you take things on a more severe level.

Other B2B Platforms

Besides Alibaba, there are several other B2B platforms where you can find plenty of Chinese deals with just a stroke of your key.

These include:

  • Made in China, where you can find all kinds of Chinese products, there is
  • DHgate, a Chinese platform best for bulk buying. They also give amazing offers on their products
  • The Hong Kong Trade Development Council is a statutory body dedicated to creating business opportunities for Hong Kong’s businesses. Of the 50 offices around the world, 13 are only located in mainland China
  • Global Sources has more than 1 million international buyers and includes 95 of the world’s best 100 retailers.
  • TradeKey has millions of visitors every month and is dedicated to facilitating both importing and exporting countries. This is to connect traders with whole sellers, buyers, manufacturers, and distributors.

There are several other B2B platforms that you can always check out. The above ones, however, are our recommendations and favorites.

Exhibitions

Exhibitions and fairs are some of the best ways to find dealers and manufacturers. Not only are there increased chances of you meeting authentic authorities, but you also get to see the actual products they sell and assess their qualities on the spot, thus easing your decision-making process.

The Canton fair

It is the largest import/export fair held twice every year and covers every industry there is. The fair is so huge and successful every year it is held in three major phases.

Phase one covers electronics, chemical products, and building materials.

Phase two covers consumer goods and home decor.

Phase three covers medical and office supplies, recreational goods, textiles, shoes, and health products

The fair is very Huge. Make sure you look for booths on the website in advance to save time and energy. The entrance to the fair is free. However, you can hire interpreters to help you overcome language barriers for a max of $75 per day.

Yiwu Fair

Although the Yiwu Fair happens once or twice a year, the actual Yiwu market is open all year long and has 40,000 shops that sell almost everything on a wholesale basis.

Although the market itself is not famous for electronic products (for the sake of our discussion here), the Fair is, which brings sellers, traders, distributors, companies, and manufacturers all in one place.

The fair happens in several phases rather than one, so check dates and booths before hopping on a bus to Yiwu City.

On-site visits

Once you’ve chosen your dealer successfully, it is time for an on-site visit.

On-site visits are among the best things to do when you want to bulk order from a dealer. We know it sounds a little too much and probably too costly, but it is worth all the time, money, and energy.

Plus, many companies have their showrooms and test rooms in many major countries, including the US and the EU.

It would be best to choose a dealer with a country office and a test room so you could practically go and test the product hands-on before making any purchases or signing any deals.

It is also essential to communicate in clear terms with the dealer. The language might become a barrier, but most dealers, especially those from major companies, know basic business English. However, if they do not, we strongly recommend you hire an expert interpreter so that you and the dealer can be on the same page.

Negotiate with Chinese dealers

Negotiating with Chinese dealers is one of the best ways to narrow down your list of ‘chosen dealers.’ However, before negotiations, make sure you eliminate as many dealers from your wishlist as possible, as the fewer participants in negotiations, the better the results.

The results of negotiation should always be to create a win-win citation for both of you. Never go for just the quality or the price, as doing that can be a fatal mistake. Always keep a nice balance between the two.

A perfect strategy to negotiate between 2 dealers is to create a simple table with all the essential data included in the table about the product. Next, you can show this table to each dealer to make your case strong and show the dealers where they stand against each other.

You can omit some information when dealing with a specific dealer just for intimidation reasons, but that is just business that we don’t have to tell you because you should already know that.

Also, when it comes to negotiating prices, you don’t want to be the one who gives an initial price. Remember that no supplier is going to give you their best price no matter what. There are going to be a lot of pricing games.

There is an easy way to eliminate a majority of pricing games, though. Make your deals sound long-term and ask for three quantity price breaks on email.

For instance, you could ask the supplier for their best prices on 500, 1000, and 20,000 solar street lights. This will give the supplier an idea that you are a long-term client, so they will most probably give you their best prices.

If the pricing on three quantity tiers does not change much in ratio, it is probably that the supplier is already giving you their best prices.

If there is a significant change in prices for different tiers, that is your green signal that there is still plenty of room for negotiations and that you should do some more talking.

Order samples

Now that you have successfully negotiated on deals. It is best to order samples before you start buying in bulk, as we said before as well.

Doing this will help you assess the quality of the products, the range of customization, shipping charges, and the quality of packaging.

If a few samples are not the kind of quality you assumed them to be, back off from the deal in an instant. If a company cannot handle the quality of a few samples, how in the world are they going to keep in check the quality of bulk orders?

It’s time for the payment!

When it comes to payment, it is essential to define your payment terms as clearly as possible.

When discussing payment terms, remember that the same dealer you’re dealing with is also dealing with another ten clients since everyone wants a Chinese dealer because why not? China is the lead manufacturer of almost everything.

Be sure to agree on payment terms that allow or perhaps force your dealer to prioritize you over his other clients, because let’s be honest, not all the ten clients are going to be happy about the dealer’s action. You just have to make sure that you leave happy and satisfied.

Payment terms:

100% Advance payment

Never do this. Doing this will allow your dealer to give you the least possible priority of all his clients. Because why wouldn’t he? You already gave him everything he wanted from you. Why shouldn’t he focus his energy on the clients that still owe him money?

30% advance, 70% after inspection

This is the most common payment term when it comes to dealing with Chinese dealers. However, if you see a slight room for lower initial prices, do not hesitate to go for it as it gives you better leverage.

20% advance, 50% after inspection, 30% after delivery in importing country

This, and the next term of payment, is our recommended one. You should always try to negotiate these kinds of terms as it helps you catch the dealer even if he slipped in some bad products in the package.

100% T/T payment two months after shipment

This is the gold standard and the one you should always try to go for. However, be warned that not many Chinese dealers will agree on terms like this and will try their best to get out. However, if you are confident in your negotiation skills, do give it a try.

International trade terms with China

Here are the 3 International trade terms with China that you should be aware of and that most dealers will almost always bring up.

EX-Works (EXW)

This is a shipping agreement and the one many suppliers and dealers will force you to sign. We recommend not to.

The term simply specifies that the supplier will produce the goods in his factory. Picking up the goods, transporting them to your country, handling paperwork, maintaining quality, and bearing the responsibility for any damage whatsoever during the transportation is all your responsibility.

In simple words, the supplier only makes the goods available in his place, waiting for you to pick them up. Everything else you do yourself. Again, Not recommended.

Free On Board (FOB)

This term specifies engagement between two forwarding agents—that of the supplier and the buyer.

According to the term, the supplier uses his forwarding agent to forward goods to a designated location. Once the buyer’s forwarding agent receives the goods, delivery will be accomplished no matter if the buyer’s forwarding agent has to transport goods to another long-distance before the buyer can physically touch them.

The term specifically applies to ocean or inland, or waterway transportation of goods where the buyer’s freight forwarder rests in the port.

Cost, Insurance, and Freight (CIF)

It’s one of the better terms to sign out there.

The term makes it the supplier’s responsibility to ship the goods to the supplier’s port; however, it will ensure the goods as well. And since the supplier is doing all this, it is only natural that he chooses the forwarding agent.

Delivery will be accomplished once the goods land in the buyer’s port.

Ask for maintenance and warranty

It is usually not a big deal as most well-reputed companies will already give you maintenance packages and warranties to keep their reputation. However, if they are not, be 100% sure to always ask for maintenance and warranty.

You don’t know if the supplier slipped in some bad products in the package or if the forwarding agency did not handle your products well, especially when it’s a CIF agreement.

Inspect your LED Street lights imported from China

And hopefully, by now, you should be having your LED street lights imported from China. Before you get installed, though, make sure to inspect every LED street light thoroughly; look for scratches on the panels, misplaced wirings, missing pieces, material quality, battery quality, and everything in between to ensure nothing is wrong with your LED street lights imported from China. If it is, though, contact your supplier as soon as possible.

Happy Installing!

Update cookies preferences