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Street lights going solar in Europe

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Scotia, a Danish company, is transforming street lights by turning them into solar generators. [Photo Credit: Scotia]

Solar-powered street lamps are spreading across Europe. Produced by Danish Company Scotia, the SunMast, a grid connected lamp that integrates 480 watts of solar cells, has been installed in Denmark and the U.K.

PV cells cover the light’s entire pole and an inverter at the base converts the DC electricity to AC for the grid.

"The SunMast helps achieve the environmental goal of zero-emission lighting by generating its own clean, solar electricity,” notes Scotia in a press release on its web site that describes the unique solar street light.

According to Scotia, the SunMast is designed specifically for use in Northern latitudes. By integrating solar cells vertically into the mast, the design allows for a larger surface area from which to generate energy. In addition, Scotia says it’s developed a “new breed” of low-light sensitive PV cells that don’t require direct sunlight, but work optimally with cloud cover.

The SunMast was first installed on the site of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference (COP15) to demonstrate the feasibility of zero-emission street lighting. Its use is being trialled in the UK by the Connect Plus consortium.

“The SunMast’s leading edge in power capacity makes it the only viable solar street light for lighting main roads and highways,” claims Peter Vissing, chief executive of Scotia ApS.

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