Spain will soon join the club with their first public street lighting system powered exclusively by solar and wind energy. Even though, there have been wind and solar lights in Spain, this is for the first time, the wind/solar powered lights will be installed as public fixtures. Well, the man behind this incredible job is, researcher Ramon Bargalló, who worked alongside the company Eolgreen to design his autonomous street light system. This remarkable effort certainly speaks volume about the initiative by Spain to embrace ‘green living’, in more ways than one.
Bargalló, who belongs to the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Barcelona College of Industrial Engineering (EUETIB) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), worked to design an autonomous system, that is truly environmentally efficient. Solar and wind energy have already proven their worth as affordable options for large-scale power generation, and Bargalló hopes, that these technologies will also work on a smaller scale.
“It takes very little wind to produce energy. The generator that has been developed can start working at a wind speed of only 1.7 metres per second (m/s), whereas current wind turbines need more than 2.5 m/s,” says Ramon Bargalló. “This low intensity can provide six nights of electricity without wind or sun,” he adds.
The prototype of the wind/solar street lights looks a little peculiar. The structure is like a tall, skinny robot with solar panels for eyes and a wisp of wild wind turbine hair. The light post has a battery, and measures about 30 feet tall. The turbine runs at a speed of 10 to 200 revolutions per minute, and has a maximum output of 400 watts. With the second prototype in progress now, it is expected, that the developers will hit on the right combination of turbine speed and wattage output needed to power their light system without wasted energy.
Eolgreen has in the meantime, signed agreements with the port of Huelva and the municipal authorities of Sant Boi de Llobregat, Girona and several towns in Andalusia. The company plans to produce 700 of these street lights by year’s end, perhaps something that will take renewable energy to a all new level in Spain.