South Africa pushes solar traffic lights

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - The National Energy Efficiency Agency (NEEA) hoped to roll out a further 100 solar operated traffic light intersections through the 20 major Metropolitan areas in South Africa, NEEA operations manager Barry Bredenkamp said recently.

"Following the phenomenal success of the pilot project solar powered, eight robot intersection on Plantation road in Cape Town, the NEEA has had many requests for solar intersections throughout the country," he added.

The NEEA has put in a proposal to get funding from the State through the Department of Minerals and Energy for the R15-million required to roll out the 100 intersections.

The NEEA has also investigated the possibility of corporate sponsors to assist with the capital costs of installing the solar powered technology for the traffic light intersections.

"A company could sponsor one or two intersections near to its offices. This would lessen congestion in the area and could likely increase productivity as employees would no longer spend time in traffic jams caused by robots affected during power cuts," Bedenkamp said.

Solar panels at the top of the light pole are used to power the lights, and surplus power is stored in the battery packs, allowing the system to work throughout the night, and for up to three days of cloudy weather if need be.

Solar-powered traffic-light systems have been operational in Europe for years and, more recently, have been manufactured in Japan.

The company that implemented the pilot project in South Africa was MagCode SA, of Cape Town.


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