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Solar-powered signals soon

V.S. Palaniappan
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These will help motorists during power cuts

Solution:Power cuts will no longer turn off traffic signals as the city police are planning ‘flickering' signals to caution motorists to slow down while approaching a signal.—File Photo: S. Siva Saravanan
Solution:Power cuts will no longer turn off traffic signals as the city police are planning ‘flickering' signals to caution motorists to slow down while approaching a signal.—File Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

It is not just industries, homes and offices which suffer owing to frequent power cuts. Even motorists are hit by frequent shutdown.

The problem of signals going off increases the ordeal faced by the motorists, especially at night.

In a bid to find a solution to this problem, the city police are arranging to fit signals with solar panels. This will, however, be done on an ad hoc basis - till such time the police convert all signals into solar-powered ones within the next 45 to 60 days.

On instructions from Commissioner of Police T.P. Sundaramoorthy, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (holding charge as Deputy Commissioner of Police - Crime and Traffic) N. Sundaravadivel and his team have already commenced work.

At present, the traffic police on duty at the signals wear red reflective jackets and wave a reflective baton to regulate the traffic.

Most of the time, the red light at the road level are mistaken for break-lights of moving vehicles.

Hence, after the 40-odd signals are fitted with photovoltaic panels, the red or amber light will keep flickering so that a motorist could slow down and navigate.

Meanwhile, the advertising and maintenance rights for the 40-odd signals are due for renewal by March 31.

The police have written to the sponsors of the signals to go in for solar-powered signals so as to make them functional and illuminated (for the advertisement boards therein) even during power cuts.

The cost of installing solar power system for each signal would be in the range of Rs 1.5 to Rs. 3 lakh.

The initial idea of operating the signals with Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) i.e. invertors proved to be ineffective as the battery capacity was insufficient for prolonged power cuts. There was also the threat of theft of inverters at night. Hence the decision to go for solar power.

Police officials said all signals would be solar-powered by mid-April.

Till then, there would be respite from blank signals (during power cuts) in the form of flickering signals.

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