Philips Unveils Solar LED Street Lights in Nairobi

Published on Thursday, 12 July 2012 12:51
Posted by Scott Buckler

A new pilot project by Philips and the Kenyan Urban Roads Authority to install solar-powered LED street lighting in Nairobi has the potential to generate up to 100 per cent energy savings, if implemented on a wide scale across the country

The pilot, the first of its kind in East Africa, was launched on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) - whose headquarters is based in Nairobi - and the UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, 2012.The initiative aims to highlight the benefits of sustainable energy sources and alternatives to expensive, less efficient traditional lighting.

The announcement was made during the Kenya leg of the Philips Cairo to Cape Town 2012 road show.

Solar-powered LED, the most efficient lighting technology, can save up to 100 per cent of energy compared to conventional lighting solutions.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "The past four decades have witnessed enormous innovation much of which is now commercial or becoming commercially cost-effective - energy efficient lighting systems being a case in point".

"Governments and local authorities have significant purchasing power which can accelerate the evolution of markets in favour of low carbon, resource efficient goods and services - a key outcome of last month's Rio+20 Summit in Brazil under the theme of sustainable procurement," he added.

"UNEP is proud to be partnering with the government, the private sector and civil society to demonstrate that a transition to an inclusive Green Economy is happening and do-able in both developing to developed countries - from the public policies that are triggering a surge in renewable energy in Turkana and Naivasha; the energy efficient, solar-powered new offices of the UN at Gigiri to this piloting of LED lighting on UN Avenue, Kenya is indeed glimpsing a very different, more sustainable future for its citizens, the country and for Africa," said Mr Steiner.

Director General of the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), Engineer Joseph N. Nkadayo, said: "It is not enough to do the footpaths and cycle paths without the street lighting which increases security at night along our roads."

"Many unfound fears are reared by grey and dark corners on the streets. Many productive hours in Africa are wasted because of the fear of darkness or darkness itself. We need to overcome this fear by installing sustainable source of power. I appreciate the current unparalleled technological expertise in this sector and believe Africa will be the leading beneficiary with abundant sunlight."

"It is for this reason that I thank Philips Lighting for providing us the 8 lighting systems along UN Avenue. They may be few but you will observe that they have made walking along UN Avenue an easy ride. Those who want to exercise at night have a nice path. The gesture done to us by Philips Lighting is highly appreciated, " he added.

"A new generation of Solar powered LED road and area lighting has the potential to transform life throughout Africa at a social and economic level" says Andre Dehmel, Philips lighting General Manager Africa. "We are very proud to be supplying an example of this to the road outside the UNEP headquarters, today," he said.

Philips has recently announced the development of what is thought to be the most reliable, efficient and cost effective solar powered road lighting solution per km of road available in the market today.

This innovation has the potential to transform urban and rural life in areas of the world which do not have access to the electricity grid or where the grid is unreliable, making them safer and more productive. It will also help municipal authorities create more livable urban environments by applying new, future-proof LED lighting solutions to enhance city and rural life.

The key to the breakthrough lies in the combination of new High Brightness LEDs with unique patented optics and an intelligent controller which lies at the heart of the solution.

This ensures that the maximum amount of power is transferred from the solar panels to the batteries (30 per cent more efficient than traditional charge controllers.) It also ensures that the charging and discharging of the battery happens in a smart way so as to maximize battery life and it can dim the light levels when required based on a self learning intelligence and a history log. A further benefit of the high energy efficiency is that the cost and size of the batteries, and solar panels can be reduced significantly, by as much as 50% compared to standard solutions being offered in the market today.

"We are looking to work with key partners to develop project solutions which are meaningful for communities throughout the continent" says Tamer Abolghar, General Manager, Philips Lighting Egypt and East Africa.

"We need to get away from just looking at the initial cost of a component and look at the overall cost of installing, running and maintaining a solar powered road lighting solution. Today Philips is best placed to provide these solutions."

Source: ©UNEP

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