A good number of traffic lights in Accra are to be powered by solar energy.
This move has come about as the Department of Urban Roads (DUR) turns to the renewable energy source as a means to eliminate chaos at road intersections in the city, often caused by power outages that render traffic lights nonfunctional.
Already, traffic lights at intersections in areas such as the Nationalist Park, American House, Kawukudi, Flagstaff House and Fiesta Royale Hotel are being run on solar energy.
Solar energy involves the conversion of sunlight into electricity by either using photovoltaics cells (PV) or concentrated solar power (CSP). The CSP systems use lenses or mirrors and a tracking device to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. PV converts light into electric current using the photoelectric effect.
The DUR engaged a local contractor, A2Z, to install the traffic light panels and batteries for the six intersections. It will do same for the traffic lights on the N1 Highway.
The Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Mr Isaac Adjei-Mensah, and Heads of the DUR, the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) and the Department of Feeder Roads visited the site close to the Fiesta Royale Hotel to inspect the work done.
A2Z has completed work on schedule and the traffic lights at the various road intersections are no longer taking their source of power from the national grid. They are now powered using solar panels and batteries. The batteries conserve excess energy to be used on days that are not so sunny.
According to the Director of the DUR, Mr Abass Awolu, “the system can work for two days even when there is no sunshine and the cost of maintenance is also very low,” he said.
The team also inspected solar power installation works on four traffic lights at intersections on the N1 Highway.
At Abeka Lapaz, Facol Roads, a road construction firm, is sticking up channels from one end of the road to the other to avoid cutting through the road for easy transmission of electrical signals to the solar panels in that location.
Mr Adjei-Mensah observed that solar energy offered uninterrupted power supply. He was hopeful that the step would help to manage traffic, especially during peak hours in the morning and evening.