Solar street lighting firm to help UK councils generate own power
A new UK company plans to sell street lighting to councils, businesses and the roads network that will help them generate green energy and feed it back into the grid at a profit. Called Scotia UK Limited, it is a joint venture between Danish solar-powered lighting developer Scotia ApS and KN Network Services Limited, a civils, comms and electrical engineering services firm specialising in renewable energy, and based in the UK and Ireland.
Scotia’s products include the SunMast, the UK’s first grid-connected, solar-powered street light designed to generate more power than it uses. It collects energy and feeds it back into the grid, enabling clients to earn money and reduce carbon emissions, while lighting streets and highways.
‘With government cost-cutting, and increasing concerns over rising energy bills, the time was right to join forces with KNNS to form Scotia UK,’ explains Peter Vissing, chief executive of Scotia ApS. ‘The government has recently overturned a ban on councils producing their own green energy. Because the SunMast system generates renewable energy as part of the urban environment, it can put councils on the road to energy self-sufficiency.’
KNNS UK managing director Mark Cassidy commented: ‘Together, we’re coupling Scotia’s technical innovation and design to the KN Group’s enormous experience in renewable energy installations, ranging from solar power through to ground heat. This joint-venture agreement is an exciting development for us and it also gives planners and highway engineers in the UK a real breakthrough in renewable energy use.’
Based on proven technologies, the SunMast was first installed on the site of the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference (COP15) to demonstrate the feasibility of zero-emission street lighting. Its use is being trialled in the UK by the Connect Plus consortium tasked with upgrading and maintaining the M25. ‘The SunMast’s leading edge in power capacity makes it the only viable solar street light for lighting main roads and highways,’ says Vissing. ‘Generating energy and, therefore, income means that hard-pressed councils now also have a way to cut emissions without compromising safety.’
The SunMast’s photovoltaic panels, which are integrated into the body of the mast, are designed to work with any standard outdoor lamp as well as LEDs. Because the SunMast does not depend on batteries, which deplete quickly and require maintenance, it provides a completely reliable approach to road lighting. In addition, the mast’s simple linear form means that a green energy solution need not be aesthetically intrusive.