Thursday, September 20, 2012

Philips Unveils Solar LED Street Lights in Nairobi as Part of UNEP Enlighten Project

A new pilot project by Philips and the Kenyan Urban Roads Authority to install solar-powered LED street lighting in Nairobi has the potential to generate up to 100 per cent energy savings, if implemented on a wide scale across the country. 

The pilot, the first of its kind in East Africa, was launched on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) - whose headquarters is based in Nairobi - and the UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, 2012. 

The initiative aims to highlight the benefits of sustainable energy sources and alternatives to expensive, less efficient traditional lighting. 

Solar-powered LED, the most efficient lighting technology, can save up to 100 per cent of energy compared to conventional lighting solutions.
During the Rio de Janeiro UN Conference on Sustainable Development, UNEP and partners, launched the main findings of 150 national assessments and a new global policy map on efficient lighting as part of the en.lighten project.  The en.lighten initiative: a public-private partnership led by UNEP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in collaboration with Philips Lighting, Osram AG, and the National Lighting Test Centre of China.

The studies demonstrate that a total of five per cent of global electricity consumption could be saved every year through a transition to efficient lighting, resulting in annual worldwide savings of over US $110 billion. 

The yearly savings in electricity of the phase out would be equivalent to closing over 250 large coal-fired power plants, resulting in avoided investment costs of approximately US $210 billion.
Additionally, the 490 megatons of CO2 savings per year is equivalent to the emissions of more than 122 million mid-size cars. 
Solar-powered LED can offer energy savings of up to 100%t compared to conventional lighting
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "The past four decades have witnessed enormous innovation much of which is now commercial or becoming commercially cost-effective - energy efficient lighting systems being a case in point".  "Governments and local authorities have significant purchasing power which can accelerate the evolution of markets in favour of low carbon, resource efficient goods and services - a key outcome of last month's Rio+20 Summit in Brazil under the theme of sustainable procurement," he added.  UNEP is proud to be partnering with the government, the private sector and civil society to demonstrate that a transition to an inclusive Green Economy is happening and do-able in both developing to developed countries - from the public policies that are triggering a surge in renewable energy in Turkana and Naivasha; the energy efficient, solar-powered new offices of the UN at Gigiri to this piloting of LED lighting on UN Avenue, Kenya is indeed glimpsing a very different, more sustainable future for its citizens, the country and for Africa," said Mr Steiner.

Director General of the Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), Engineer Joseph N. Nkadayo, said: "It is not enough to do the footpaths and cycle paths without the street lighting which increases security at night along our roads." 

"Many unfound fears are reared by grey and dark corners on the streets. Many productive hours in Africa are wasted because of the fear of darkness or darkness itself. We need to overcome this fear by installing sustainable source of power. I appreciate the current unparalleled technological expertise in this sector and believe Africa will be the leading beneficiary with abundant sunlight." 

"It is for this reason that I thank Philips Lighting for providing us the 8 lighting systems along UN Avenue. They may be few but you will observe that they have made walking along UN Avenue an easy ride. Those who want to exercise at night have a nice path. The gesture done to us by Philips Lighting is highly appreciated, " he added. 

"A new generation of Solar powered LED road and area lighting has the potential to transform life throughout Africa at a social and economic level" says Andre Dehmel, Philips lighting General Manager Africa. "We are very proud to be supplying an example of this to the road outside the UNEP headquarters, today," he said. 

Philips has recently announced the development of what is thought to be the most reliable, efficient and cost effective solar powered road lighting solution per km of road available in the market today.
This innovation has the potential to transform urban and rural life in areas of the world which do not have access to the electricity grid or where the grid is unreliable, making them safer and more productive. It will also help municipal authorities create more livable urban environments by applying new, future-proof LED lighting solutions to enhance city and rural life. 

The key to the breakthrough lies in the combination of new High Brightness LEDs with unique patented optics and an intelligent controller which lies at the heart of the solution. 

This ensures that the maximum amount of power is transferred from the solar panels to the batteries (30 per cent more efficient than traditional charge controllers.) It also ensures that the charging and discharging of the battery happens in a smart way so as to maximize battery life and it can dim the light levels when required based on a self learning intelligence and a history log. A further benefit of the high energy efficiency is that the cost and size of the batteries, and solar panels can be reduced significantly, by as much as 50% compared to standard solutions being offered in the market today.
"We are looking to work with key partners to develop project solutions which are meaningful for communities throughout the continent" says Tamer Abolghar, General Manager, Philips Lighting Egypt and East Africa. 

"We need to get away from just looking at the initial cost of a component and look at the overall cost of installing, running and maintaining a solar powered road lighting solution. Today Philips is best placed to provide these solutions." 

According to findings from an independent report by the Climate Group and Philips entitled," Lighting the Clear Revolution, The Rise of LED Street Lighting and What it means for Cities":
  • Surveys in Kolkata, London, Sydney and Toronto indicated that citizens prefer LED lighting, with 68% to 90% of respondents endorsing city-wide rollout of the technology. Amongst the benefits that were highlighted in these surveys were a greater sense of safety and improved visibility.
  • The lifespan of LED lighting trialed ranges from 50,000 to 100,000 hours indicating a high return on investment.
  • LED lighting was found to be a durable technology with the need for minimal repairs; the failure rate of LED products over 6,000 hours is around 1%, compared, for example, to around 10% for conventional lighting over a similar time period.
  • The LED market is at a tipping point, with white light LEDs (used in outdoor lighting) at the early stage of the technology curve. Market penetration is accelerating as the market is expected to expand by 60% by 2020. A recent ILO report concluded that the green economy could yield up to 60 million jobs; The Climate Group, Philips and partners are calling governments to catalyze the scale-up of LEDs in cities and invest now in order to capitalize on this and create a significant amount of high-value jobs across the world.
  • The LightSaver trial concludes that LEDs are now mature enough for scale-up in most outdoor applications; bring the economical and social benefits to the masses.
  • The Climate Group and Philips are calling for an international low carbon lighting standard to be created and implemented ensuring that citizens worldwide have access to energy efficient outdoor lighting. 
 The Philips Cairo to Cape Town road show 2012 started in Cairo on May 14th and will make its way across eleven countries and seventeen cities in Africa. 

Further Resources
UNEP en.lighten initiative
en.lighten Global Policy Map
en.lighten Country Lighting Assessments
Presss Release: New Countries to Start Phase-Out of Inefficient Lighting, with Major Economic and Cl
• National Data on the Benefits of a Transition to Energy Efficient Lighting
Philips Cairo to Cape Town Road Show

United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
Press Release dated July 5, 2012

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