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Costa Rica’s capital to have solar energy powered traffic lights

June 21, 2017

Stop lights in downtown San José are about to get a “green” upgrade. The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) said Thursday that it had awarded a $1 million contract to local company Sistema Empresarial RC to install photovoltaic cells that would power traffic signals across the city as soon as next year.

MOPT Vice Minister Sergio Urbina said the upgrades would provide more security to motorists and pedestrians because solar-powered traffic lights would not be affected by power failures, which are common during the country’s rainy season that runs from May to November. “This will help us prevent accidents and traffic jams,” Urbina said in a statement Thursday.

Urbina noted that the project would also provide electricity savings since the system will operate primarily on solar energy. The system would only connect to the electrical grid if the solar panels are depleted.

“This is also an important effort in Costa Rica’s plan to achieve carbon neutrality,” Urbina said.

The exact number of traffic lights that will operate under the new solar power system is not yet defined. If there are no objections to the public bid results, the company will have 10 months to complete the project after the official newspaper La Gaceta publishes the bid results.

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