The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) announced Monday that it is installing smart solar street lights along El Camino Real as part of a six-month pilot program to "test the potential to generate renewable energy on light poles," according to a press release.
The city partnered with Petra Systems, a global technology provider for renewable energy, to test and evaluate the performance and impact of the technologies. Solar photovoltaic (PV) modules were installed last week along a portion of El Camino Real, between Embarcadero Road and Serra Street.
The solar project will help to "transform our streetlights into a network of distributed solar power generating assets and will increase Palo Alto's renewable energy production at no cost to the City," according to the City of Palo Alto website.
CPAU officials are inviting the community to provide feedback through an online survey. Input will be included in the city's evaluation and consideration of a larger-scale project.
Solar units are located high on street light poles to utilize the sun's energy, which is injected to the city's electric grid. Each solar unit generates energy equivalent to the power that would otherwise be consumed by two regular street lights. The LED light controller allows the city to remotely turn lights on or off, as well as flicker a specific light to help direct emergency response personnel when needed, according to the release. The controller network can also notify the city of malfunctioning light by sending a message with the type of malfunction and location.
For more information on the project, visit the City of Palo Alto website.