23 January 2008 – The Central Energy Fund (CEF) has announced that it has committed US$5.7 million to the installation of solar power traffic lights at critical junctions around South Africa.

Solar traffic lights"This is an urgent intervention to alleviate the chaos on our roads that results from power outages, and which is impacting negatively on the economy of our country whenever there is load-shedding," said CEF chief executive Mputumi Damane.

Installations are expected to start in Johannesburg within the next few weeks, while a pilot project has been running in Cape Town for some months already.

Thousands of intersections have been identified for solar powered traffic lights, with more than 2 000 in Johannesburg alone. eThekwini, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Nelspruit have also been examined for critical intersections.

"Normally, the imported components for these installations would be shipped to SA from overseas, but because of the urgency of this matter, we are having the first few hundred flown in."

It is hoped that the available funds could rise to as much as US$14 million with support from major organisations.

"Pledges of major funding are flowing in, and a number of agreements are being finalised with key private sector institutions, who we will name once the formalities related to the approval and transfer of funds have been concluded," Damane said.

In addition to helping alleviate the electricity problems being experienced in South Africa, funders will also be able to lodge claims "of up to 150% of the invested amount from the South African Revenue Service, with the submission of their next tax return."

The project is being managed by the National Energy Efficiency Agency, the division of CEF involved in the pilot solar traffic light programme that has been running in Cape Town since September 2007.

Picture credit: www.capetown.gov.za