Market Updates

Solar Powered Variable Message Signs in Real-Time Traffic Management

March, 2019

Solar powered variable message signs (VMS) are now used extensively to reduce energy consumption and thereby reducing the overall total cost of ownership in many applications like traffic system control, transportation, municipal system. Recently, solar powered VMS are being used to provide dynamic and real time information to the driver. Solar powered variable message signs solutions can be installed where traditional electricity lines are not available or a distant place from electric connection. Considering these factors, the adoption of solar powered VMS has been growing in the market.

Variable message signs manufacturers like Photonplay, Swarco AG, Aesys among others have developed an innovative solar powered technology for LED, which maximizes efficiency and minimizes energy consumption of the VMS. Electronics manufacturers are emphasising on research and development of solar powered variable message signs which is an energy-efficient VMS solution for traffic management systems and roadworks. Not every place is suitable for traditional electric message signs; in that place solar powered variable message sign is mainly used. Solar powered variable message signs (VMS) enables VMS installations in those areas where electricity is not available or cost unaffordable by the regional or state department.

Specifications of solar VMS

In solar powered VMS, LEDs are used as the main component, as It consumes less energy because of LEDs and it entirely runs on solar power. Solar powered VMS comes with different kind of technical specifications, as well as it can be customized as per the application requirements by VMS manufacturers. Solar powered VMS can be a full matrix area with highly efficient LEDs, it means that images as well as letters can appear in that board in different colour format. Solar powered variable message signs are designed with different types of electronic circuits and it runs on a microprocessor. Mostly, the structures of LED boards are mainly built with aluminium or steel and covered by poly carbonate.

Benefits of solar powered variable message signs are

  • Installation time and cost reduction: For installation of solar powered variable message signs there are no need of large electrical cables which can save a large share of money from investment. The energy autonomy in solar powered VMS eliminates the need for electrical cables. This largely reduces the installation cost and time of VMS.

  • Reduction in operating cost: Solar powered VMS have an efficiency of over 75% and a large reduction in heat dissipation. With this energy reduction, the VMS can be powered at maximum brightness with a deep cycle battery and recharged with a photovoltaic panel. The recharging of the battery through solar panels reduces operating costs by 70% through the reduction of energy consumption based on average cost.

  • Reduction in Maintenance Cost: The fanless cooling system enables the solar powered VMS to operate without the regular cleaning of filters. The high-quality electrical and electronics components ensure a high a level of reliability, thus reducing the maintenance cost significantly.

  • Some more benefits of solar powered VMS include onetime investment, environmentally friendly solution, fit for use in all places, among various other.


Solar powered variable message sign solutions are proven to be cost-effective and easy to manage. It is expected that due to its cost advantage and different technical specification availability, the adoption of solar powered VMS solutions is expected to be growing in global market.

- Pradeep Singh
ICT Research Analyst