Solar Power Gets the Greenlight in Durban

The municipality of eThekwini in Durban, South Africa, has greenlighted a new project of solar powered traffic lights. Funded by the state-owned power utility Eskom and implemented by ZRW Mechanika and Saint Gobain Solar, the project uses CIS solar modules to power lights at four intersections.

Each system features 16 panels and each panels has a power capacity of 110 W. Backup is provided by batteries that can last over 48 hours when there’s no sunlight. Eskom thought up the project to coincide with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that was held in Durban in late 2011, but the project could not be finished in time.

The yearly maintenance cost of the system is estimated at R15 000 (US$1.803). The estimated yearly savings amount to nearly R10 000 (US$1.220), but it could get cheaper is set to increase as electricity prices are set to increase each year.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

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