One of the streetlights at the end of the Santa Cruz Wharf is not like the other ones. Thanks to the solar panel bolted to its spine, it generates its own electricity.
The sun-powered streetlight was installed in early August to test new solar technology. It replaced one of the grid-powered LED streetlights that line the rest of the wharf, said Tiffany Wise-West, principal at EcoShift Consulting and former climate action outreach coordinator with the city of Santa Cruz. The city worked with researchers at UC Santa Cruz and Mira Bella Energy of Peoria, Arizona, for the installation.
The streetlight’s solar panel soaks up sunlight during the day. The energy generated is stored in batteries stacked in the lamp pole and used to power the light at night. Theoretically, Wise-West said, the solar streetlight should never need to draw electricity from the power grid, but it’s connected to it just in case.
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