Harare turns to clean energy to fight crime

Solar street lighting

The city council of Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, is installing solar-powered street lights to fight crime.

The council plans to install about 4,000 solar powered street lights across the city in a bid to bring the surge in robberies in recent times under control.

“We are starting with the central business district; then we will move on to other parts of the city,” Micheal Chideme, the media officer of Harare City Council has been quoted by a local publication as saying.

Herbert Gomba, councilor and chairperson of the procurement committee of the local body, said the installation of the street lights, which began recently, is expected to be completed in 2016.

The city council is carrying out the $15-million project in partnership with a Zambian advertising agency.

The agency is to erect street lights that will bear small solar panels and associated battery packs fixed at the top.

The battery packs will last between 10 and 12 hours and will be automatically switched off and on by an onboard timer.

African nations, particularly their rural reaches, are still poorly connected to electrical grids.

Voluntary organisations and photovoltaic device makers themselves are helping get electricity to the back of the beyond by making solar power equipment available to the ruralfolk.

They are expected to support growth in Africa.

In Harare, the solar installations are expected to save the council $200,000 a month on electricity charges.

“This is the sum Harare has been paying the power utility for electricity,” Chideme said and added that the new project will help reduce robberies.

The lack of street lighting has in recent years led to several incidents of mugging. Many were killed or lost their belongings in such incidents.

Ajith Kumar S