How does a solar-powered light tower work?

23 September 2021

Solar powered light towers are becoming a great alternative to diesel-driven light towers. The new generation of solar light towers enables users to reduce CO2 emissions while enjoying the functionalities of a traditional model. A portable solar light tower is, in fact, a more sustainable solution that still provides efficiency and high performance. So, end-users can take on greener operations and comply with the CO2 emissions and noise regulations.


The light coming from the sun makes it happen. These are solar-powered light plants. However, how does a solar powered light tower work? 

A portable solar light tower has a storage system built-in

Solar-powered light towers capture the energy released by the sun with photovoltaic panels. Usually, these are installed in the portable solar light tower. The captured energy goes through the inverter and is stored in a battery bank as DC power. Yes, solar light towers can store energy during the day for later use!


The energy kept in the batteries feeds the LED lightings, and that is how solar-powered floodlights work.


The batteries are usually recharged through the internal inverter, powered by solar panels. However, some models have a socket that allows recharging from any external power source in just a few hours.

Which aspects can influence the performance of solar powered flood lights?

There are two main factors with a significant impact on the performance of solar panels and on the solar light tower recharging time. These are orientation and tilt.


The position in which you place your portable solar light tower is essential. As the direction that is facing determines how much solar yield your photovoltaic panels receive throughout the day.


In the Northern hemisphere, solar panels are most effective when installed facing the South. However, in the Southern hemisphere, your solar powered light tower is more efficient when installed facing the North.


In some cases, a miscalculated angle set up can lead to an efficiency reduction of between 10% to 15%. The angle of the solar panels is relevant. But it does not impact performance as much as the direction that the light tower faces.

Atlas Copco Power and Flow division has recently released the HiLight S2+ solar light tower. Its innovative design allows end-users to reduce CO2 emissions by up to six tones compared with its diesel-driven homologous. It features four 90W LED solar-powered flood lights that deliver 2,000 m² light coverage.


This user-friendly portable solar light tower features solar panels that can be pulled out from the canopy. The HiLight S2+ delivers 11 hours of light, free of noise and CO2 emissions. Moreover, installing an additional battery set can reach 20 hours of autonomy.


Energy demand or the external temperature when discharging can affect any solar light tower's autonomy. To extend it, the lights of the HiLight S2+ have a dimming function. By adjusting the flood lights' brightness users reduce energy consumption, saving where there is no need for the total light output.

The HiLight S2+ is independent of fuel provisioning. However, sometimes energy demand is higher than solar yield, for example, in certain areas during the winter. Its batteries charge with solar energy in eight hours or through an external power source in just three.


This solar-powered light tower has a socket that enables recharging from any power source. If a total clean solution is needed, users can rely on energy storage systems, such as Atlas Copco’s ZenergiZe range.

Felix Gomez

About Félix Gómez

He started his career in Atlas Copco as Area Manager for the Gesan Line power generators. In 2016, he was appointed Product Marketing Manager for light towers at the Power and Flow division.

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Felix Gomez

Felix Gomez

Product Marketing Manager - light towers