StarSight – Solar powered street lamps with wireless access points
This project seems like it could be a good fit for developing but urban settings where there is fairly high population density, a budget for deploying infrastructure, and enough community support to limit problems with vandalism or theft of the equipment.
Starsight (Starsightproject.com) is a project designed to supercharge street lighting and power in developing counties. Essentially it is a network of pylons, each with a solar panel, linked not by cables but by antennae which use wireless internet protocol.
The Starsight idea came out of the involvement of London-based sustainable development specialist the Kolam Partnership in an urban street lighting initiative in Cameroon.
Reliable street lighting can help a country to develop – a study by the Kenyan government recently found that street lighting reduced crime by 65 per cent. The benefits are even more widespread – aid workers and foreign businesses are more likely to stay on in a country if they feel secure.
One of the project partners is a Next-G, a Singapore-based wireless manufacturer which is building the pylons. If the project scales up, perhaps they can find a way to set up in-country fabrication of the poles, rather than importing them.
As an aside, solar panels are commonly seen at road intersections in Bangalore. If you look carefully at the top right of this photo, you’ll see one on the street sign pylon behind the tree branches.