Sus­tain­able street­light switches on when it sees you com­ing

The Irish Times - Weekend Review - - IMPACTJOURNALISM DAY -

En­gi­neers in Las Ve­gas, Ne­vada, are test­ing a new sys­tem to il­lu­mi­nate the streets of the city: so­lar-pow­ered street­lights that can switch them­selves on and off when peo­ple pass nearby. The aim of this in­ven­tion is to re­duce both pol­lu­tion and elec­tric­ity costs.

Lo­cated in the mid­dle of the desert, Las Ve­gas en­joys high lev­els of sunshine through­out the year, mak­ing the city an ideal place for so­lar en­ergy use. For this rea­son, the com­pany EnGoPlanet in­stalled four eco-friendly street­lamps on a busy square in the city.

The sys­tem is sim­ple. A bat­tery is con­nected to rounded so­lar pan­els above the street­lights that store the en­ergy to il­lu­mi­nate the square. The bat­tery is also con­nected to ki­netic tiles built into the pave­ment. When a pedes­trian walks on the slabs, the en­ergy pro­duced by the weight of their move­ment is har­nessed. Thanks to small gen­er­a­tors, each step gen­er­ates 4 to 8 watts, de­pend­ing on the pres­sure ex­erted. If the sys­tem proves ef­fec­tive, it will be ex­tended to other ma­jor Amer­i­can cities.

EnGoPlanet’s so­lar-pow­ered street­lights switch them­selves on

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