Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Power Walk


Power Walk

In the event of a power failure, only about half of Tampa’s traffic lights are equipped with backup batteries that can keep the signals operating without a generator for about eight hours.

After that, the traffic lights would go dark, and motorists would be on their own.

Given the potential for confusion and accidents at intersections with out-of-order traffic signals — and to prepare for tropical storms that might cause widespread power outages — Tampa has partnered with solar panel maker Solar Earth on a $45,000 pilot program to embed 84 solar panels in sidewalks near a downtown intersection.

During a power failure, the solar panels would power the nearby intersection’s traffic signals for about three days.

The panels are protected by a hard surface that allows pedestrians to walk on the sidewalk without damaging the panels. The surface also protects them from flooding.

Solar Earth, based in Canada, specializes in “solarizing” sidewalks, roads, parking lots, rooftops and docks to allow the infrastructure to perform its intended purpose while also generating power.


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