Battleland

Illuminating Kabul

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A Kabul street corner, harvesting sunlight / SESA photo

U.S. cities like San Diego are debating the wisdom of putting solar-powered street lights along their roads. Heck — that’s already happening in…Kabul, Afghanistan? You bet. In fact, Colonel Thomas Magness IV, the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Afghanistan, was raving about them Thursday:

There is no reliable electric grid here in this city of 5 million people, and so we looked at putting in solar street lights as a way to provide safety, security, improve commerce in an otherwise dark city at night…And so we did our own demonstration project, about $200,000 for solar lights, 56 lights. And now we’re going full steam ahead. These lights are working great. The maintenance package that came with it is sufficient. We trained up the operators from the city public works. And now we are putting in a goal of about 10 kilometers of solar lights here in Kabul City.

Brilliant? Or dim-bulbed idea?

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