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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Solar Street Lamps could be a Cool Fix for a Hot Planet

Air Date: Week of April 22, 2011

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Researchers in Denmark have created a solar lamp called SunMast that generates energy from the sun during the day and feeds that energy into the grid, making it the first ever grid-connected solar street lamp. The creators also claim it generates more energy than it ultimately consumes. Sean Faulk reports.

Transcript

[COOL FIX THEME]

FAULK: The street lamps that illuminate our roads at night don’t do much during the day, but that idle time spent in the sun may change soon. Engineers say the fix is simple: turn the street lamps into solar panels.

Researchers from the Denmark-based company Scotia have developed a solar lamp they call SunMast. SunMast is the first street light designed to generate energy from the sun during the day and feed that energy into the local power grid.


(Photo: Adam Mørk/Scotia Light Ltd.)

The street lamp is fashioned with a new type of photovoltaic solar cell specially built to handle dim and indirect lighting. This allows the lamp to collect light efficiently even though it faces the ground. It can even gather light on cloudy days. Its creators claim that SunMast generates more electricity than it consumes.

Developers are currently testing the product in the UK, so it may not be long until solar street lamps begin to light up cities on this side of the pond. That’s this week’s Cool Fix for a Hot Planet, I’m Sean Faulk.

 

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