Impact Journalism Day - Solutions to global issues - 2017
Solar and Kinetic: The future of sustainable urban energy?
Engineers in Las Vegas, Nevada, are testing a new system to illuminate the streets of the city. As if by magic, these solar-powered streetlights can switch themselves on and off when people pass nearby. The aim of this invention? To reduce both pollution and electricity costs.
Located in the middle of the desert, Las Vegas enjoys high levels of sunshine throughout the year making the city an ideal place for solar energy use. For this reason, the company EnGoPlanet recently installed 4 Eco-friendly streetlamps on a busy square in the city.
The system is quite simple. A battery is connected to rounded solar panels above the streetlights that store the energy needed to illuminate the square. But that's not all, the battery is also connected to kinetic tiles built into the sidewalk. Whenever a pedestrian walks on the slabs, the energy produced by the weight of their movement is harnessed. Thanks to small generators, each step generates 4 to 8 watts, depending on the pressure exerted. If the system proves to be effective, it will be extended to other major American cities like New York or Los Angeles. The company is also aiming to raise money on the Indiegogo website in order to provide clean and free electricity to villages in Africa.