January 5, 2006 7:52 AM PST

Sunlight powers streetlights, Wi-Fi access

A Scottish university is testing solar-powered streetlights that also deliver wireless Internet access.

The Project Starsight technology is being tested as part of a deal between Compliance Technology, a company based in Fife, Scotland, and the Abertay Center for the Environment (ACE) at the University of Abertay in Dundee.

The solar panels provide a free energy source for the streetlight and also for the Wi-Fi or WiMax connection.

"The new photovoltaic technology, which will be showcased in Dundee, will mean that no local community needs to be without reliable, economic street lighting with the added benefit of Wi-Fi technology outside their front doors," Calum McRae, head of Compliance Technology Scotland, said in a statement.

ACE director Mary Cowie added in a statement: "The pilot scheme will involve not only ACE but students from the University of Abertay who will be able to play a hands-on role in shaping the technology of tomorrow."

Steve Ranger of Silicon.com reported from London.


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Pardon if I'm displaying abysmal ignorance of solar technology, but would this still function in communities that don't get a lot of sunlight, either from seasonal problems in the far north, or due to prepetual overcast? How much power would these require to operate?
Posted by Varsis (5 comments )
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Solar Street Lights
As HEad of CTL let me address some comments.
Firstly our power device is cutting edge technology able to recharge in 'minimal daylight' (yes even up north where its cold...)The power source is strong enough when fully charged to provide Wifi-WiMax-microwave tech and street lighting for over 18 days...without recharging.....
The device does not have a conventional 'solar panel' the UV collection device is moulded to the shape of a street light lamp allowing maximum UV collection throughout the day. Finally, the 'next' stage of development for the project is to have solar powered 'self cleaning' units that are totally maintenance free. Look for more information on this and other related sites.
Kind regards
Calum McRae
Director and Head of CTL Scotland
Posted by ctl Scotland (1 comment )
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Obviously these would not be installed up north where there is no sunlight in the winter months. Not many people live there anyway. And they do not suit every climate. I'm sure however, that these have regular power from the power grid connected to them for backup, because it indeed would be not logical not to for those situations when there is limited sunlight. And it would be great to have illuminated streets/wifi during a power outage.
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Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
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Birds ??
If you use a solar panel, it either has to be steeply angled - losing sunlight efficiency - and/or cleaned often due to bird droppings.

These would require an expensive amount of battery time.
Posted by regulator1956 (577 comments )
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Windshield wipers?
Maybe they could add solar-powered windshield wipers.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
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