I doubt it’s cost effective, but it’s still worth doing?

When I picked up Nefarious from school today I noticed that the Christmas lights on the street seem to be solar powered. The Christmas lights are plugged into an outlet box on the tree from which a cable runs through the air to a pole — which seems to have solely been erected for its holiday purpose — twenty feet away. That pole is topped with a small solar panel hooked up to servos that allow it to track the winter sun through the sky, and below that, what I assume is a battery box. On one hand it’s really cool (if a bit unsightly), but on the other hand, the cost of traditionally powering the lights off the grid for the lifetime of this solar setup has to be lower than the cost of building and putting up the pole and everything else? I suppose sort of like buying a Prius over an old 40 mpg Beetle — you’re not actually saving energy, but you are investing in a culture transforming idea that hopefully changes the world for the better in the long run…

Sorry about the cruddy picture. It was taken out of the truck window.



  1. peteD3 wrote:

    they should just leave them up once there thier (LOL). maybe they can be used for other things off holiday…

    like free electric for street people!
    free cell phone (etc) charging stations!
    safety lights and emergency phones!

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink
  2. Allison wrote:

    I’m currently interning for a municipalities planning department, and 75% of the calls and e-mails that come in are people demanding to know why things like this aren’t being done in the area.

    I’ve learned plenty about green efforts and sustainability in my time in school… but I’ve always considered a big part of sustainability to be cost-effectiveness. It doesn’t make sense to put up something like this, and cut the budget in other service areas to compensate.

    BUT! It does look pretty cool…

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Permalink
  3. scienkoptic wrote:

    Could be the work of someone like me. I’ve done several solar powered projects just for the experience of working with it. The expense of installing the solar system pictured cannot be cost effective. But for evaluating an idea, it would be great. Especially if you could monitor it’s performance. The last two big projects I did were strictly done to gain experience. Any chance of a better picture of the tracking mechanism?

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 5:04 am | Permalink
  4. Shannon wrote:

    Next time I’m walking in the area I’ll take a better shot and post it.

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Permalink
  5. Nicolas wrote:

    the above comment about customer calls into the public works facilty about “making more projects like this” is frightening. The propiganda that has come with the ‘green revolution’ is equally distubing. consume consume consume! (and feel like your somehow saving the enviroment!)

    Sunday, December 6, 2009 at 4:20 am | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *