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Wind, Solar-Powered Street Lights Only Need a Charge Once Every Four Days

What’s wrong with wind power and solar energy and right with coal? Windela installation, from company gallery

Well, coal can burn around the clock, as long as you have enough of it. But the wind doesn’t blow all the time and the sun doesn’t shine all the time. Sure, you can store power in batteries, but how much?

How about enough to power an LED streetlight, without wires, that is sure to turn on every night?

There’s a French company called Windela that has crossed a streetlight with a vertical-axis wind turbine and a solar panel. It charges up during the day, when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. At night, it shines.

It also can work as a Wi-Fi relay, similar to a solar streetlight known as Starsight. Imagine it: Wi-Fi, light at night, no coal required.

According to a do-it-yourself-er who has delved into streetlight details, public lighting uses up to 12 percent of the fossil fuel produced in the world. In Fairbanks, Alaska, where it’s dark half the year, street lighting accounts for 60 percent of the city’s electricity bill, notes a New York Times’ blogger.

Snip from windela company home pageWindela’s product, called Windelux, lasts up to four nights without sun or wind once the batteries (in the base of the pole) are fully charged, the company says.

The hybrid streetlight received the 2009 Rethink award for the top young, innovative start-up at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris. The Windela Web site shows installations in France and Algeria.

More information is welcomed from French speakers.

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is typing about issues in the Great Lakes, from advanced biofuels to zero-emission vehicles. Jeff is an environmental journalist and social media evangelist based in Michigan, where the summers are short, the winters are cold, and the stories are plentiful.


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