I was having a debate with my friend about ways to make the environment better and to have a better energy reliance than oil. One idea that was floated was to have every street lamp based on solar power (with backup electrical grid power in case it rains or something) anyway, here was the debate which we need your answers to: Is it better to have a solar panel on each street light OR Is it better to keep the street lights as they are and just install solar panel hubs around the city that feeds into the electrical grid?
Until compact onsite electrical storage becomes practical, it’s better to have centralized solar power stations feeding power to the electrical grid, because 1) the wiring to the lamps are already in place and/or are necessary anyway for times of no sun, and 2) greater efficiencies and easier maintenance is possible at large solar power installations than with thousands of small solar collectors. However, independent “off the grid” solar powered devices is the trend. For example, through fuel cell technology, compact solar energy storage may become possible and practical, in which case high efficiency street lamps may go off the grid, thereby reducing wiring needs.