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Shipping Container Lights

JANUARY 26, 2021 BY RYAN STOLTZ

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shipping container lights

Shipping containers have come a long way. Thanks to their versatile, modular architecture, these units are able to serve a number of diverse applications

Along with a high-strength Corten steel body, modern container structures also have heating and air conditioning units, shelves, solar panels, phone lines, LED lights and lighting systems, and more.

 

When designing any container building, indoor and outdoor lights are generally the primary requirements. Whether you’re working with offices, restaurants, schools, clinics, warehouses, storage areas, housing complexes, all container architectures can benefit from a well-lit space.

If you're building a custom container conversion or looking to make your existing unit more functional, you should consider modifying your shipping container lighting. Similar to other shipping container accessories like doors, windows, and shelving brackets, installing a lighting system inside your customized container is simple.

Keep reading to learn more about how you can light up your container. We’ll introduce the different types of lights and lighting systems available and walk you through the entire installation process.

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Types of Shipping Container Lights

Typically, you can install two types of lighting systems inside your unit: lighting kits and standalone lights. Let's take a closer look at each option.


Types of Lights

If you have pre-installed electric connections inside your container, you can use one of the following lights at your intended location.


Interior Overhead Light

You can use a 2-bulb fluorescent fixture as overhead lights in a container. These lights alone can provide sufficient lighting inside the unit. Additionally, you can install an overhead light with multiple switch tops to operate the lighting controls from anywhere inside your container.

A 4-lamp, 120 Volt,  4-Foot wraparound light costs about $65 per unit.

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Alt - interior overhead light


LED Lights

You can also install multiple LED lights on each of the walls. These lights are a great option if you're using the container building in a remote area and do not have access to a power source. You can hook up an LED light with a portable battery to provide light inside your container.

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You can get a 110 V 18 W 2 FT linkable LED light for about $30-$35 per unit.


Floodlights

Exterior lights or floodlights help you illuminate the perimeter of your container. These lights also help add to the safety of the unit.

A pair of 100 W floodlights can range anywhere between $40 to $100.
 

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PorchLight

If you need to brighten the area near the container door or window, you can use a porch/entrance light. A fancy porch light can also help elevate the aesthetics of your container.
 
Porch lights such as this beautiful square entrance light come with a price tag upwards of $37. 


Wireless Motion Sensor Lights

These lights come equipped with a magnetic strip that sticks and holds on to the container roof. You do not have to perform any heavy-duty drilling, making them easy and safe to install.

The in-built motion sensor turns on the light automatically when it detects movement, which helps you save on energy costs. Modern lights also allow you to change the color and intensity of the light using mobile apps.

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The price of a 3-pack 6 V motion activated light generally starts from $19.99.


Solar Panel-Powered Lights

A solar-powered lighting system is perfect for containers without access to power sources. The installation is simple and maintenance-free. You'll need a 12 V battery to store energy and power your lights. Alternatively, you can purchase a dusk-to-dawn outdoor light with an in-built photocell for $50+.

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Lighting Kits

If you do not have the wiring, fixtures, and parts needed to install an individual light, look into shipping container lighting kits. These can be either traditional or solar-powered lighting kits

Solar lighting kits consist of the battery, panels, turn-key units with an easy-to-install setup. Customers prefer these kits as they are convenient and don’t require you to waste time searching for specific components.  With reduced wiring and labor costs, they also offer an efficient alternative to power generators. 

Solar Lighting Kits.jpg
 


Installing Electric Services in Shipping Containers

Here are a few essential tips for installing solar-powered lighting kits and traditional lighting equipment.


How To Install a Solar Lighting Kit

First, determine the correct position of the panel. 

You must ensure that your solar panels are not in a shaded area and are facing solar south. 

You can search south on Google maps to locate this point. Most kits designed for a three-day autonomy contain the following components:

  • Solar panel with a charge controller
  • Battery
  • Electrical wires
  • On/Off switch
  • Electrical conduit
  • LED Light with magnets

 
Install the panel on the roof and keep the battery and charge controller in a holder inside the container.  Drill a hole in the wall to connect the panel wires to the battery and attach it to the controller. Use electrical conduits to create an outlet and make contact with the switch. Stick the LED light on the roof and fix it with one of the outlets.

Installing a Solar Lighting Kit.jpg


Watch how a designer single-handedly installs shop lights in a shipping container.


How Do You Power a Shipping Container?

If you want to install traditional electricity-powered light, you need to make proper arrangements to power your container. 

Most containers derive power from a nearby electricity source, like transformers.

 

However, you must ensure that you follow the electricity codes and local building regulations. Shipping containers can also source energy from a diesel generator or non-conventional source of energy. 
Be sure to provide complete earthing and grounding when connecting external electric sources to the container's interior. If you're using a DC-powered system, you must also make arrangements to combat heating problems.

Power a Shipping Container.jpg


Why is Electric Installation Important?

Light and electricity are crucial for any functional shipping container structure. Electric installations are a prerequisite, whether it is running or power tools, machinery, appliances, or charging gadgets. You can also use extension cords to power all kinds of outdoor equipment.


A Unique Application of Lights

Shipping container lights not only help illuminate the interiors but also help create intelligent solutions. For instance, Glenn Behrman, an experienced gardener, uses a 40-foot container with several LED lights and climate control systems to maintain the ideal temperature and humidity. 

Using appropriate lights, Behrman is confident that his containers can help farmers grow crops in any region and reduce their dependency on the seasonal variations in weather.

 

Watch how LocalRoots, another startup fits five acres of farmland into shipping containers.

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Conclusion

A lighting system inside your container is vital for improving the building's functionality, accessibility, and safety. There are several shipping container lights you can choose from to illuminate your container. Lights can also help you build innovative container solutions such as farming and aquaponics.

Mobile Modular Portable is your one-stop solution for pre-built shipping containers with lights, shelving brackets, HVAC units, plan tables, and insulation. Get in touch with us or contact us at 866-459-7600 to learn more about our pricing, delivery, and customizations.

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FAQs

Why Do You Need Lighting In a Storage Container?

A lighting system helps illuminate the interiors and the exterior perimeter of the container, which helps improve the building's functionality, accessibility, and safety.


What Types of Lights Can You Install In a Shipping Container?

You can install interior overhead lights, LEDs, floodlights, porch lights, motion-sensor lights, and solar-powered lights inside a container unit.


How Do You Determine the Height of a Floodlight Outside a Container?

You must mount floodlights at a height that illuminates the maximum area. The most efficient height of a floodlight is about 6 m from the base of the container.  When you place floodlights, they emit light evenly and also create smaller shadows.

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