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Streetlights may soon get a regulator

Resource: The Times of India

Kolkata is one of the mega cities in India. Some people in this city raised questions about the energy waste of streetlights – why keeping the streets over-lit when there is hardly any traffic on the road after midnight?

According to The Times of India, there will be an ideal solution to this issue, which is to use a regulator that can dim the lights after traffic hours. Saurabh Kumar, the managing director of Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL), expressed his consent for this idea and thought it would lead to huge savings in electricity without harming anyone’s interests. Now being a central government scheme, this idea will be implemented in other mega cities at the same time.

EESL has offered to undertake the job to make Kolkata’s streetlights smarter. It is a company floated by NTPC, Rural Electrification Corporation, Power Grid Corporation and Power Finance Corporation with the mandate to introduce energy efficiency technologies in various sectors.

EESL will fit the lamps with radio chips that will enable them to be monitored and controlled from a central point wirelessly. Apart from switching the lights on and off, the brightness can also be controlled from this central system. So after rush hours in the evenings, the brightness of streetlights can be reduced without affecting traffic movement. After 1 am the pressure of traffic movement declines to a minimum and the intensity of these lights can be further reduced leading to further savings.

EESL proposes to not only replace the 300,000 street lamps with LED lamps virtually free of cost, it will also take over the maintenance of the lights which means KMC will save Rs (Indian Rupee) 250 million (1 Indian Rupee = 0.017 USD), adding to the reduced Rs 500 million power bill after using LED lights above, they will take the total saving to Rs 750 million.

The company has done a pilot project at Rashbehari connecter and Wipro flyover at Nabadiganta. It also has approached Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) with a proposal to use LED lights to replace 300,000 conventional sodium vapor and metal halide street lamps that consume high energy. The reason is LED lights will effect energy savings of about 55%-66% and offer more light than traditional lamps. According to the report about the financials behind the project, the KMC spends over Rs 1 billion on power bill for streetlights. After LED lights are installed, the power bill will be slashed by 50% or Rs 500 million.

The initial investment is high, with LED lights that cost Rs 8,000-9,000 a unit against vapor lamps costing Rs 2,000-3,000 a unit. EESL intends to procure the 300,000 lamps and the radio chips in bulk through L1 tender for approximately Rs 3 billion.  Kumar also explained that they will borrow Rs 3 billion through a soft loan which will be paid back by KMC in five years at the rate of Rs 600 million a year. The interest cost and cost of equity will get covered in the next four years making the project viable.

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Kolkata to get smart street lights soon

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