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About solar lighting   20 January 2023


Light pollution: facts, issues and solutions for public lighting


In remote areas, sometimes still deprived from any access to electricity, the installation of lighting systems and especially solar street lamps represents tremendous progress, allowing activities to continue after dark and reinforcing security. In cities where lighting sources are on the contrary very present, we are now faced with the problem of light pollution. In these areas, it is essential to rethink public lighting, taking into account the needs of both people and nature.

Pollution lumineuse des villes

What is light pollution?


Light pollution or light nuisance means the negative impact that a poorly controlled lighting system can have on nature and people. An excess of lighting in any given area has consequences on the entire surrounding ecosystem (fauna, flora, fungus) and may even result, to a lesser degree, in damage to human health.


Night lighting has increased significantly in recent years, resulting in the phenomenon of light pollution that affects the environment. Excessive lighting at night means the disappearance of the starry sky, disturbances for the fauna and the flora, intrusive lighting that can result in sleeping troubles, and an obvious waste of energy with unnecessary lighting expenses at times when there is little or no need for light.



Light nuisance and public lighting


Light pollution is hard to quantify. Air pollution, for instance, benefits from much more precise measuring instruments than in this field of investigation. It is therefore difficult to judge the proportion of light nuisance attributable to public lighting alone. In fact, there are many light sources in the city beyond street lamps, such as storefronts, private, sports or even industrial lighting. It is however essential for each field of activity to question its share of responsibility, and to set up actions aiming at limiting light pollution.


The ANPCEN, a French association for sky and nocturnal environment preservation, has issued a report on this subject. It highlights a significant increase in public lighting in France, with 89% more light points in the last 25 years. In 2018, the City of Paris had committed to determining the share of its light pollution attributable to public lighting. The result obtained, 35%, was based on the methodology established by the consulting firm DarkSkyLab, a specialist in the scientific expertise of light pollution.


In the face of such situation, it is important to mobilize and there are fortunately many action-levers. Local authorities can apply good practices to their public lighting, illuminating streets only when needed and how much is needed. Some municipalities have already conducted tests, establishing a “curfew” between midnight and 5am, during which time the public lighting stops working.

It is a whole public lighting system, often obsolete, which needs to be rethought. By doing field studies, we realize that some traditional street lamps are superfluous or light at an unnecessary power. It is also essential to control luminous flux, by directing lighting to the ground to reduce its impact on the night sky. In this regard, France has already taken a big step with the decree of December 27, 2018 on the prevention, reduction and limitation of light nuisance, overseeing the design and operation of lighting installations.



Sunna Design’s commitment to fight light pollution


Smart lighting is key to help reduce night lighting impact on our environment. Sunna Design’s solar street lamps are adapted to the legislation in force and to the limitation of light pollution, from design to operation.


Sunna Design’s teams guide each client in his lighting project by carrying out a precise field study allowing for the most accurate lighting, by adapting the number of street lights and the color temperature to the needs of the population as well as to the environment.

Thanks to the SunnAPP©, an intelligent lighting program specific to its solar street lamps, Sunna Design is able to offer an infinitely customizable lighting system, to meet the needs expressed while avoiding light pollution as much as possible. Its autonomous street lights have patented intelligent electronics, the SunnaCORE©, which can notably regulated the intensity of the LEDs, for a dynamic management of lighting and energy.


Generally speaking, solar solutions are in line with the logic of renovation of outdoor lighting, for an illumination of cities that is both more efficient and therefore less expensive, but also fairer and therefore more respectful of the rhythms of nature.

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