Urban Green Energy (UGE) today announced their newest alternative to power hungry outdoor lighting: the Sanya Streetlamp [pdf] is a standalone, off-grid street light that uses solar power, wind energy, or a combination of both to generate low-impact light for roads, bike paths, parks, and more. Densely populated cities require thousands of outdoor lights to keep public areas functional and safe. While we’re thankful for their illuminating qualities, these high-intensity discharge lamps cost local governments millions to install, wire, and power for 12 hours a night. We had a chance to chat with Mateo Chaskel, UGE’s VP of Operations about this innovative, off-grid streetlight system – read on for more exclusive details after the jump.

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The Sanya Streetlamp is idea for a wide variety of customers, and are currently being incorporated into a number of commercial projects, from company headquarters and department stores to pedestrian pathways parking lots. The cutting-edge systems use either UGE’s low-cost HoYi! wind turbine, solar panels, or a combination of both to achieve the power needed to completely power the LED light.

Of course, solar and wind-powered streetlight concepts are nothing new. Most of them seem cool in theory, but too complicated or unreliable for commercial use. We asked Mateo Chaskel, UGE’s VP of Operations, what puts the Sanya Streetlamp ahead of the pack.

“Not only are our renewable solutions by far the most reliable (and best-looking!) of those out there, our systems are more efficient, both from energy and costs perspectives,” Chaskel told us. “For example, combining solar with our turbines and electronics means we are able to use far stronger LEDs to light a wider area, requiring a fewer number of units overall.”

Wind and solar-powered street lights sounds like a great idea, but what about cloudy days when there’s just a tiny breeze? “There is an enclosure at the base of each Sanya tower where batteries are stored, with ample room for our recommended 5-day battery back-up,” Chaskel reassured us. “In essence, this means that if the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining for five days, the lamps will still be on. The batteries are delivered fully-charged, and will remain at those high levels of charge throughout standard operation.”

So even if the weather is lousy, with the Sanya Streetlamp, you don’t have to worry about pitch black streets or parking lots. But from a city planner’s point of view, the best thing about this off-grid outdoor lighting solution is the savings. “Installation costs for conventional lighting systems constitute a significant portion of the overall cost,” explained Chaskel. “In a scenario where one light is being installed where no grid currently exists, the savings will be immediate since the price of taking the grid to one location would outweigh that of one Sanya.  In a more typical scenario where multiple lights are being installed, we estimate that over 35 percent of project costs would be saved by using Sanya systems rather than conventional lighting.”

The new line is being launched with the installation of over 100 units near Beijing, China, and additional projects are being developed in several countries across the US, Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa.

+ Urban Green Energy