Mangawhai tests solar powered lighting
A solar powered streetlight (pictured at right) being trialled at the intersection of Molesworth Drive and Sunlea Lane in Mangawhai could help to light other Kaipara roads if it proves successful.
Results are being closely monitored and are likely to interest other councils.
Residents have asked for a light at the intersection, but with cabling under the road and installing an extra transformer pushing the cost to $15,000 for a traditional light, the Kaipara District Council has considered other options.
The solar powered light costs around $6,000 and was installed about six weeks ago.
Its lighting output is only slightly below a mains powered light and even on dull days the panels and battery create and store enough electricity to operate all night.
Using a timer, the hours of operation can be changed to suit seasonal patterns.
Council roading manager Henri van Zyl expects running and maintenance costs to be lower than grid electricity.
“A new battery, perhaps every five years – and eventually the solar panels – will need replacing.”
He says the new light will be closely monitored and, if successful, could be used elsewhere in the district, possibly even replacing some of the present 1,136 streetlights.
“We are always open to new ideas and this is a way of testing new technology,” he says, adding that other innovative ideas include the possibility of replacing some lights with less power hungry LED units.
Mr van Zyl says so far the new light is working well and neighbouring residents are happy with it.
He is not aware of any other solar powered streetlights in Northland and expects Kaipara’s trial to generate interest when Northland’s four councils and the NZ Transport Agency discuss regional roading issues.