Thursday, January 26, 2012

Illuminating the Dark Continent with solar power

Dark ContinentThe vast majority of solar-powered streetlights and similar fixtures on the market don't survive for long.  That's why Israeli startup Globe Light and Water System devised a sturdy, solar-powered light fixture that needs no infrastructure.

This could prove a godsend to developing nations where a lack of street lighting results in dangerous driving conditions and far slower economies.

In Africa, the heat, humidity, mud and dust are given factors that have to be taken into consideration. In many places there's no electricity infrastructure, so the fixtures have to stand alone. The other major issue that has to be dealt with is criminality. Vandalism and theft of public property is widespread.

Chinese companies have been making similar light fixtures for several years now, but almost all of them involve inferior technologies. They are inefficient, have shorter life spans and break down far too regularly.

The GLWS Orion light fixture offers some fundamental design improvements on existing systems. A major innovation is the built-in microprocessor that constantly monitors and regulates factors such as bulb temperature and battery charge.  A particularly high-quality type of LED [light-emitting diode] lamp used in the GLWS Orion lights  can work in extreme conditions and does not burn out as easily as the ones used by competitors's products. The junction temperature of our LED is 60 degrees Celsius. The microprocessor automatically dims the light if it approaches this temperature. Another advantage is a lower electricity consumption by an average of 60 percent. This translates into negating the need for complete power stations.

As important as its technical aspects, is the fact that the fixture is theft-proof. The light poles are designed in a way that no one can steal the batteries from inside. There's also the option of adding a CCTV camera to the pole so that anyone trying to vandalize it will be seen from the central control facility.

This facility, usually operated by a municipality or local government, can monitor the performance of all the installed light fixtures.

The fixtures can be monitored remotely, and  the lights can be dimmed or raised using radio frequencies. This means easier upkeep, lower energy consumption and longer working lives

GLWS is developing lighting systems for Nigeria, Ethiopia and Colombia, with several other countries in the negotiation process.

Source: Israel21c

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