Spain will be home to the first public street lighting system powered exclusively by solar and wind energy. Researcher Ramon Bargalló is the man behind the development, and he worked alongside the company Eolgreen to design his autonomous street light system. Although there have been other wind/solar-powered street lights, these will be the first to be installed as public fixtures.
Bargalló belongs to the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Barcelona College of Industrial Engineering (EUETIB) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC). There, he 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.
The prototype looks a little peculiar, like a tall, skinny robot with solar panels for eyes and a wisp of wild wind turbine hair. The light post measures about 30 feet tall and also includes a battery. The turbine runs at a speed of 10 to 200 revolutions per minute and has a maximum output of 400 watts. A second prototype is in development now, with the hopes that the developers will hit on the right combination of turbine speed and wattage output needed to power their light system without wasted energy.
As of the time of writing, Eolgreen has 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.