Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Solar-Powered Streetlights Have Cut Crime, Increased Quality of Life

December 28, 2013

Hidalgo County, Texas -- SOL Inc., a global provider of commercial outdoor LED lighting solutions powered by solar, has announced that it will install an additional 30 off-grid solar outdoor commercial lights in Hidalgo County, Texas, as part of the county’s continuing efforts to increase safety after sunset with no added electricity costs. The new lights will bring the total number of off-grid solar lights installed in the Mexican border county in the Rio Grande Valley to 164.
The expansion builds on SOL Inc.’s considerable success in addressing the county’s lack of lighting infrastructure while also increasing quality of life for residents. Hidalgo County, one of the nation’s fastest growing counties, first decided to install SOL lights in 2009, using funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. SOL Inc. has now installed a total of 134 solar lights, and in 2012 alone, the county installed an additional 104 systems.
Inspired by the success of SOL Inc.’s Hidalgo County projects, the neighboring county, Cameron County, has also decided to move forward with SOL Inc. for solar outdoor commercial lighting installations, including those for the city of Harlingen’s police department and the city of San Benito’s main park.
Prior to SOL Inc.’s installations, most of Hidalgo County’s colonias, or community estates, had no street lighting because the county could not afford it. Residents were reluctant to venture out at night because they were afraid of crime. As a result of SOL Inc.’s ongoing projects with Hidalgo, the county has seen a drop in local criminal activity as well as an improved quality of life.
Solar commercial outdoor lighting offers a low-cost solution by comparison with traditional grid-tied lighting systems in situations in which no electric infrastructure exists due to the savings on the costs of trenching, wiring and connecting with the utility, as well as the cost of the electricity itself. In addition, solar lighting consumes no fossil fuels, which means reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced reliance on foreign oil and reduced emissions of particulates, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.
Yet another advantage of solar outdoor commercial lighting is that it continues to shine during brownouts and blackouts, which is becoming increasingly important with the increased stress on the electric grid and the increased incidence of extreme weather events.