UGE’s Sun & Wind-Powered Streetlights Prove Their Worth

Conservation is still the easiest way to eliminate wasted energy, but there are some things we just can’t go without. Unlike your bathroom light or TV, streetlights need to stay on so both drivers and pedestrians can feel safe after sunset.

Urban Green Energy (UGE) recently completed a case study using wind and solar-powered streetlights in PingQuan, in the Hebei province of China. By eliminating the need to trench the wires used by traditional streetlights, and generating their own electricity, the new luminaries are saving the province some serious cash.

UGE wind solar streetlights

Image via UGE

The stretch of the road previously didn’t have streetlights, so when adding them the city had two goals: make an aesthetic statement, but work within budget. To meet these ambitious goals, UGE installed 105 streetlights which each feature one HoYi! wind turbine and two 280W solar panels. The combination of two renewable energy technologies ensures that the lights always have enough power for illumination, whether it’s day or night.

The lights are the first of their kind and illuminate a long stretch of the highway entering the city of PingQuan, providing a dramatic entryway to the city. Because of the tremendous savings offered by this off-grid technology, the city saved hundreds of thousands of dollars that would have been spent on burying wires and piping in coal-fired electricity. By avoiding both, PingQuan was able to choose a high quality, long lasting, aesthetic option at no more cost than a typical install.

“We love it,” reports PingQuan’s procurement manager. “We haven’t had a single issue since they were installed, and people ask about the project all the time. Almost every day we have people stopping to take pictures.”

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • Again, another example of a misapplied alternate energy demonstration project.

      The system should have been demonstrated in an area similar to the target sales market.

      The only application of these street lights are on urban streets with pedestrian traffic or at highway intersections in rural areas not on a straight stretch of rural highway without tall trees or sun and wind obstructing structures. Why would we want to add to more light pollution and they are dangerous due to their effect on night vision anyway.

      It is obvious the cost benefit don’t work!

      From the pictures you can see that there exists grid ties all along the highway(the bill boards and the buildings) so the feeder cost is small and the electric cable to link each street light is much much less than all the cost of the PV and VAWT. The maintenance cost of cables is nearly NIL while maintenance of the electronics, PV, battery and windmill is exorbitant. Even when you add up the grid distribution losses and electrical generation fuel costs there is no payback especially considering that China imports 17.5% of its coal nearly half of which comes from the USA.

      So the USA in shutting down coal power plants and increased the coal available for export to China where China burns it in not environmentally kind electric generating power plants to make their PV that they install on a stretch of road making it more dangerous to replace a hundred yards of aluminum electric cable per light standard and to top that all off China is the largest producer of aluminum on the planet.

      The world has gone crazy! But the world is less crazy than the USA the target market for these off-grid street lights.

      The city of PingQuan, China had a goal to make an aesthetic statement and to show the region’s commitment to green technology. I can only Hope that cities in the USA don’t Change and further pollute other regions in China not shown in the pictures from the coal and chemical carcinogens needed to manufacture the stupid PV.