Turning street lamps into solar panels

Living on Earth

This story was originally covered by PRI’s Living on Earth. For more, listen to the audio above.

Researchers from the Denmark-based company Scotia have developed the first street light designed to generate energy from the sun during the day and feed that energy into the local power grid. They’re calling it SunMast.

The street lamp is fashioned with a new type of photovoltaic solar cell specially built to handle dim and indirect lighting. This allows the lamp to collect light efficiently even though it faces the ground. It can even gather light on cloudy days. Its creators claim that SunMast generates more electricity than it consumes.

Developers are currently testing the product in the UK, so it may not be long until solar street lamps begin to light up cities on this side of the pond.


Hosted by Steve Curwood, “Living on Earth” is an award-winning environmental news program that delves into the leading issues affecting the world we inhabit. More about “Living on Earth.”

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