Solar-powered street lighting is coming to Nairobi. The city council has begun installing them around downtown, in a move that falls under the Kenyan government's climate-change response strategy [PDF], launched in the spring of last year.
In a city where electricity is not always reliable and where street lighting is of particular importance for public safety, this is a smart project. And one of the pieces of the response strategy is to boost the use of environmentally-friendly technologies that can also drive sustainable economic growth.
Reuters Alertnet reports that the government has allocated one billion Kenyan shillings ($100 million) for the solar lighting project, and normal lights have already been replaced by their solar successors on several streets near the parliament and other government buildings.
More from Reuters Alertnet:
The initiative is expected to be completed by mid-2012, with the new lighting on at least 12 streets as well as a major highway connecting several towns outside Nairobi.
Nairobi’s town clerk, Phillip Kisia, believes the project will help the council depend less on hydroelectricity from nearby dams. “With climate change stalking us, water levels in hydroelectric dams have been on a decline as rains have been failing,” he said.
The story adds that Kenya’s per capita consumption of solar energy technologies is already one of the highest in the world, and that other cities are considering following Nairobi's lead. The Nairobi city council, meanwhile, estimates that when the project is finished, it will save nearly $2 million every month on electricity bills.