Jersey City is on the rise!  First, we had the BigBelly solar trash compactors dotting our streets to help clean up the trash and gutters.  Then, we had the wacky, and ongoing, Janky Pole episodes.  Now we have newly discovered solar panels installed, so far, on some non-Janky Pole utility poles all across our fair city.

Upon closer inspection of one of the solar panels, I was able to make out “Petra Solar” printed on to bottom edge of the panel.

I immediately headed over to PetraSolar.com and found this PR blurp about their utility pole solar panels:

Petra Solar’s shovel-ready systems are operating on streetlight and utility poles in the field and provide unsurpassed value for utilities. The system mounts directly on utility poles and connects to the grid secondary at the pole. The unique mounting system produces a rapid and safe installation. The price of a SunWave™ is comparable to traditional PV technology, yet a SunWave™ solution provides a measurably better return when installed behind the fence.

The Petra panels are also dotting the utility poles around the local ball field.

It is incredibly gratifying to see this smart energy use by Jersey City.  Why not harness the power of the sun for free and either add juice to the electric grid or to individually power up streetlights and local area lighting?

I’m not sure why Jersey City is on such a green energy power kick as of late — we’re pretty rough and tumble and blue-collar meat-and-potatoes around here — but it is great to see smart money finally being spent on keen, money-saving things.

Now we just need the city to somehow find a way to sponsor healthy eating choices beyond the periodic farmer’s market.  Let’s get some healthy restaurant choices on every street corner so we can all live a longer and more prescient life while we want and wonder at the solar panels around us powering our lights and compacting the trash.

8 Comments

  1. What an excellent idea …………..what I would also like to see developed is small wind turbines on each pole and on all pylons feeding back wind energ into the grids – I did discuss this once with someone who ought to know and was told that it was not possible.

    1. I love your idea, Nicola. I wonder, though, if the reason the wind turbines wouldn’t work is because they’d have to be too large to fit atop a pole and the risk of being decapitated by a falling blade would be too high a price to risk? I know the giant windmills on the wind farms have massively large blades.

      In the week since I wrote that article we’ve noticed about 30 more Petra Solar panels on the utility poles all around our neighborhood. It’s pretty neat to see this greening progress happen right before our eyes.

  2. There are a generation of covered wind turbines which look very much like the engines from an aircraft – ie they are enclosed – it could well be that they are not efficient enough compared to the standard design to be viable. I feel we should be able to make a design that would work in this way – using already existing infrstrucure – maybe a nest of smaller turbines instead of one large one.

    One of the most pleasant surprises about Portugal is that EDP the only energy supplier in the country manufactures 60 percent of its energy from green sources – ie solar and wind generation. One of the most amazing sights I have seen is a field of solar pannels harvesting the sun which rotate during the day to make the most of the available sun. It uses similar technology to this one at Moura – http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jun/06/renewableenergy.alternativeenergy