Dispelling the “Fragile” Solar Light Myth

How we made sure our solar lights have the grit to perform during emergencies

Solar bollard lights in a garden
Reliance Foundry’s solar bollards direct light to highlight paths and landscape features.

A major advantage of solar bollard lights is that they continue to function in an emergency. When the power grid goes down, solar lights carry on because they each contain their own independent power source. This makes them inexpensive to install and maintain, but pricey to replace—so the best way to make solar bollard lights cost-effective is to build them tough as nails.

Reliance Foundry set out to build one of the toughest, longest lasting solar bollards on the market. Not only do they deliver cutting-edge light management technology, but they also offer unsurpassed resiliency.

During the design phase, prototype solar bollards were subjected to extreme testing to ensure that they would meet all the demands and hazards of modern streetscapes.

The rigorous testing included battery by baseball bats, bricks and hockey sticks. With their steel housing, high-impact polycarbonate solar module and overall design integrity, the solar bollard lights survived physical battery with ease.

“We took steps to ensure that these bollards would withstand any abuse that was thrown towards them,” says Reliance Foundry’s design specialist, Len Cranmore. “We designed these solar bollards to withstand the demands that would be placed on them in the event of a potential riot, and then we subjected them to real-world testing.”

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The extreme testing showcased the bollards’ outstanding strength and durability. Engineers subjected the solar powered bollard lights to the potential stresses that would have to be endured during a riot or targeted vandalism, and the results have been very positive. The solar bollards endured being struck with beer cans, rocks, baseball bats and hammers. The polycarbonate lighting fixture even remained unscathed after a cigarette was extinguished on its surface. The lighting fixture showed no signs of damage and operated at full capacity after the real-world “attacks”.

Reliance Foundry’s solar powered light bollards first came to market in the fall of 2012, and the LED light fixture was updated in 2016 for even better performance.

Most solar powered bollard lights are only commercially available with rather fragile electric components. Engineers at Reliance Foundry were challenged to create a design that could withstand the harsh, external abuse of modern streetscapes. They realized that both the fixture that held the electronic components and light management technology would have to be thoroughly protected.

After rigorous testing and intense study, high grade materials were selected and a design was developed. In the outdoor lighting industry, polycarbonate is accepted as a vandal resistant and extremely durable material. Because it is both high-impact and UV resistant, it was selected for the solar panels. The electronic components that host the EMS technology are not delicate or sensitive. They are robust and feature the added protection of the outer casting. High grade cast aluminum was chosen for the outer casting and it was designed in a manner that would maximize the protection given to the already resilient lighting fixture. The designers met the challenge of creating an extremely durable lighting bollard and the extreme testing shows that these solar bollards will truly stand up to the harshest demands of a modern streetscape—everything from petty vandalism to a hurricane!

“In outdoor lighting applications, there are enough demands to consider without having to worry about the unit’s structural integrity,” says Reliance Foundry Sales Manager Rick Pasternak;” When it comes to standing up to dangers of modern streetscapes, I believe we have created an unmatched solar-powered bollard light.”

Like other outdoor lights, solar bollards make spaces safer after sunset by keeping them well-lit and visible. Unlike alternative lighting sources, Reliance Foundry’s LED solar bollard lights are designed to illuminate the areas that matter without creating light pollution. The design creates beautiful outdoor nightscapes that highlight paths and landscape features.

In order to provide this illumination, Reliance Foundry has matched the trusted design integrity of its bollards with an innovative solar-powered lighting system. The result is a stylish and durable solar bollard light that delivers cutting-edge light management technology.