New SF Streetlights Solar, Wind Powered

It’s the trifecta of green public lighting, and you won’t be surprised to hear the place it’s getting a test run is the Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco. Dubbed Sanya, this hybrid streetlight combines a 600-watt vertical-axis wind turbine – the specialty of manufacturer Urban Green Energy – with an 80-watt solar panel, all feeding a low-energy LED light.

Four Sanyas are now in place, part of a larger LED project that aims to reduce energy use for the Civic Center Sustainability District by about 35 percent. In a statement, city utility manager Ed Harrington said the “new LED streetlights and the Civic Center hybrid streetlights will save ratepayers dollars and demonstrate sensible, environmentally friendly technologies like wind power, solar power and LED lighting.” The city figures the Sanyas themselves will reduce energy consumption at the plaza by 1,400 kilowatt hours per year.

Hybrid streetlight, San Francisco, Urban Green Energy

image via Urban Green Energy

San Francisco is generally a pretty windy place, and it gets its share of sunshine as well. But even in extended periods of calm or gray conditions the Sanyas figure to do all right: They come with a battery pack that can store enough energy to power the lights for up to a week.

“Finally with Sanya there is a sustainable, attractive, and affordable solution to street lighting,” Nick Blitterswyk, CEO of Urban Green Energy, said in a company press release.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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