Offshore wind farms represent a challenging environment for lighting due to the continuous exposure to salt, water, and wind. For this reason, it is crucial to specify a quality heavy-duty luminaire that can withstand these harsh conditions. Usually, offshore wind projects require a five years warranty, so it is essential to supply quality products that can endure the time on the seas.
Having a heavy-duty LED supplier for your lighting needs can help you reduce operation and maintenance costs. The light-emitting diode is the preferred lighting method for offshore wind farms. Traditional options like high-pressure sodium lamps have a short life span and are not built to withstand water, wind, or salt exposure. Below are factors to consider for each lighting application.
Upkeep the lighting
Most LED luminaires have good thermal management and can last over 100,000 operational hours without flickering. Consequently, there is a significant reduction in cycle costs since the lighting is durable and long-lasting. Using LED luminaires can help reduce maintenance costs in these offshore areas.
During maintenance, an operator may need to access the nacelle, which is usually a hard-to-reach place. Larger wind turbines typically have an elevator, but sometimes ladders may be required. The nacelle has weatherproof protection that protects the nacelle components from corrosion. As the operator makes way into and out of the nacelle, they need adequate lighting for safety. Because of the harsh elements, including salt and water, the luminaires must be of high quality to avoid rust.
Places like the control room have limited space, so luminaires in such areas should be small to avoid occupying more space. The good news is that LEDs can take various designs and fit even in confined spaces. For example, the lighting can be fixed on the walls, ceilings, or doorways. In the event of power loss, there should be emergency lighting to maintain safety.
Lighting applications for offshore wind farms should be durable, considering that the design life on an offshore turbine is approximately 25 years. When looking at durability, you want to consider factors such as:
- Saline environment
Corrosion is more common in saline environments than in freshwater. Saltwater is an electrolyte solution, meaning it has dissolved ions. Therefore, it can corrode metals or cause rusting at a higher rate than in a freshwater environment. When saline water evaporates, some salt residue remains on the luminaires’ hardware. Over time, more salt build-up may affect the luminaires’ light output.
For this reason, light installations in saline environments must withstand extreme pressures and temperatures. When choosing LED lighting for offshore regions, ensure they are made of marine-grade aluminum or stainless steel; these materials are resistant to harsh elements and are less likely to corrode. You can reduce water intrusion into the lighting equipment by selecting a model with a small front gasket.
- Wind speeds and extreme weather
Heavy rains are typical in offshore areas, so you want to ensure you have luminaires with a high IP rating to avoid damage to the unit’s internal components. Due to the strong and frequent winds, the mounting centers and brackets of the lighting need to be strong enough to bear the load. Otherwise, the luminaire can break, dislodge, and get lost at sea, requiring you to purchase and install new lighting. When choosing a luminaire, look at its IP rating and verify the tests the equipment has been subjected to.
- Sun exposure
Offshore sites are exposed to sunlight for lengthy periods, as are the installed luminaires. Exposure to ultraviolet rays can be problematic to some luminaires like those made from glass-reinforced plastic. When exposed to sunlight for long hours, GRP luminaires decay and become brittle, resulting in operational and maintenance costs. Therefore, ensure your offshore lighting is made of materials that won’t deteriorate due to UV exposure.
Regarding offshore lighting, you want to ensure that you get high-quality LED luminaires that meet marine standards. Your main priority should be getting value for your money. Traditional lighting fixtures may be cheaper to purchase but result in high maintenance and cycle costs in the long run. With so many lighting vendors today, you want to ensure that you buy your luminaires from a trusted brand to avoid substandard lighting equipment.