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Billboards show the way in energy conservation

R. Sairam
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70 billboards in North Veli Street save 35 units every day

At the peak of power crisis, the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) has undertaken a major awareness campaign to emphasise the need for energy efficiency and power conservation among the public to tide over the shortage.

A major area of focus is on use of lights for the ubiquitous advertisement bill boards and other decorative purposes. The very sight of these energy intensive lights being used for illuminating bill boards on roads during a time of dire power shortage is a sore point for many.

One way out of this is through use of solar-powered lighting systems for these advertisement boards. For long, this option was dismissed as either non-practicable or as financially unviable owing to the high initial investment.

But, now, a batch of 70 billboards fitted with LED lights, powered solely by solar energy, have been installed and successfully shining along the median on North Veli Street here.

A total of 35 units of power are saved every day through these boards. Considerable energy saving could be achieved if the project was scaled up, said V. Sivakumar, Director of Alter Energy Systems, which supplied the equipment to the private advertisement agency that had leased the space from the Madurai Corporation.

His firm, a manufacturer and a dealer, has been approved by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) and the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy for southern parts of the State. It has supplied Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) to many rural local bodies.

The controls of the boards are fully automated and lights switch on automatically upon sunset.

They run for a minimum of five hours every day, he said, adding that the unit functioned properly even during rain.

The installation of the units began in the first week of April.

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