If you're trying to save power, you generally don't leave your lights on all night. With a few exceptions, however, that's what cities do with their streetlights. That's why some groups have developed streetlights with built-in solar panels. A Spanish team is now taking things a step farther, with a stand-alone streetlight that runs off of both solar and wind power.
The light is being developed through a collaboration between the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and Spanish startup Eolgreen.
The current prototype stands 10 meters (32.8 ft) tall, and – along with an LED lighting array – features photovoltaic panels, a wind turbine, a battery pack, and an electronic control system that manages the flow of energy between those components.
Its composite-bladed turbine starts generating electricity at a minimum wind speed of 1.7 meters (5.6 ft) per second, moving at 10 to 200 revolutions per minute and producing a maximum output of 400 watts. A planned second-generation turbine will only need to turn at 10 to 60 rpm, producing 100 watts as it does so.
The commercial version of the streetlight should feature two 100-watt polycrystalline solar panels, an array of Philips LEDs that put out either 3,500 or 4,000 lumens (depending on the streetlight model), and a lithium iron phosphate battery pack that can store enough power to run the lights for up to 3.5 nights per charge – an optional higher-capacity battery could reportedly manage 6.5 nights.
While the streetlights can run off-grid, groups of up to 99 of them are also able to send status updates via UHF to a central station, once every 30 minutes. This will allow administrators to know of any technical problems, so that they can be repaired.
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