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Upgrade, modification of traffic signals to power from solar, imminent

– solar energy to be primary source of power

After four years of installing ‘modern’ traffic signals and paying a $5M utility bill per annum for the 47 systems, the Public Works Ministry has finally embarked on a research programme to upgrade and modify the existing hybrid system (uses both utility and solar powers).
It is expected that seven of the traffic signal systems by year-end will utilize solar energy as its primary source of power, and utility energy (Guyana Power and Light) as its secondary source.
“The current system utilises utility power as its main source, the upgrade will make solar energy its primary power,” says Terence O’Brien, Electrical Engineer, Public Works Ministry.

Traffic lights at the junction at Church Street and Vlissengen Road powered by solar energy .

For the past six weeks, the Ministry has a prototype that is being used at the junction of Church Street and Vlissengen Road. This system will provide ‘no break’ power to the light, he added. The Ministry, he noted, is pleased with the response it is receiving from the prototype.
When the solar energy becomes the primary source of power for the signals, the utility bill is expected to reduce by one-third of its current amount.
To facilitate this upgrade, several solar boards powering traffic signals along Main Street, Georgetown, will be relocated. O’Brien noted that some traffic lights are under large trees, which prevent the solar boards from receiving full energy from the sun. He termed the present installation of those traffic lights (the ones under the large trees) as poor engineering.
O’Brien stressed that from projections, by the end of the 2012, forty (40) percent of the system installed will be powered by solar energy.
“Having the traffic lights powered by solar energy, with back-up power supply from the utility company, was the desired option,” O’Brien stated. However, the contracted company, CMS Traffic Systems Limited of India, insisted that the systems receive their main power source from the utility company. The research project is geared towards correcting this situation.
O’Brien disclosed that the Ministry is sourcing materials from Brazil, Europe and China to execute works on the signals, as CMS was slothful in responding to the Ministry, and it is only recently – after one and half years – that the company contacted the Ministry about parts.
The official revealed that the Ministry was put in a disadvantageous position, as it was forced to utilise parts from the three traffic signals that were not installed. Spare parts were also sourced from other areas.
Government executed the traffic light project through a Line of Credit of US$2.1M from the Indian Exim Bank. The initial project sought to install 50 traffic signal systems. This was changed with the erection of only 47 systems. On the 7th November, 2006, the civil works agreement was inked.
Physical work on the project commenced on January 27, 2007, and works were completed on July 11, 2007. The contracting company engaged the services of local sub-contractors: Gaico Construction Inc; Civ- Tech Construction & Contracting Services; Godfrey Bovell Construction Services and Novad Consultants & General Contractors, for the execution of the project.

 

Source: http://www.kaieteurnewsonline.com



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