Merchants Unveil Bright Idea for Solar-Powered Lamps

Rendering of a solar-powered street lamp. (Hope Street Merchants Association)

Rendering of a solar-powered street lamp. (Hope Street Merchants Association)

By ecoRI News staff

PROVIDENCE — Representatives of the Hope Street Merchants Association (HSMA) and industrial designer Jonathan Harris recently unveiled a plan to install solar-powered street lamps along Hope Street to a group of community leaders, elected officials and business owners.

The plan, "Off-Grid On Hope," calls for the installation of up to 30 lamps along Hope Street, from the Rochambeau Library to Fifth Street. These lamps will not be connected to the electrical grid, but will instead be powered entirely by solar energy.

“By keeping the lights disconnected from the grid, installation is less expensive, city resources are not drawn upon, and there is more flexibility in installation,” Harris said. “This project supports local designers, artisans and manufacturers.”

The lamps are designed to cast light that will make the street safer and more inviting to pedestrians after dark, while not contributing to light pollution. The base of each lamp will feature a zoetrope, where the works of local artists will be showcased at eye-level for children.

HSMA plans to fund and install a prototype of Harris’ design by spring 2016 and aims to fully implement the project by next fall. The prototype phase is expected to cost about $4,300, while the full installation is estimated at $120,000. HSMA will fund the project through a mix of grants, corporate sponsorships, private donors and community contributions.

Off-Grid On Hope would add to the list of improvements HSMA has made to the neighborhood during the past six years, including custom-designed bus shelters, locally fabricated steel trash receptacles, park benches, bicycle racks, flower plantings, new trees with tree guards and branded signage.

“We want Off-Grid On Hope to be an example for environmentally friendly, energy-efficient neighborhood improvement projects helping to make our city greener and more beautiful," said Pernilla Frazier, co-president of HSMA.