The benefits of solar street lights in low-income urban areas in cities and towns are easy to identify due to their clear boundaries. They can be considered to be areas where the poor in the city or town reside. These urban areas are popular in developing countries due to high rural to urban migration in search of employment, education, and entertainment.
Unemployment and high cost of living have forced students, the unemployed, and low-income earners to consider these areas of residence. These areas are known to have limited access to basic services such as water and sanitation. Other characteristics include poor infrastructure, limited space, high population, numerous small shops, and insecurity.
The principal goal of installing solar street lights in low-income urban areas is to improve visibility at night. Lighting the street would mean that there would be increased mobility at night and reduced insecurity.
Longer Business Activities At Night.
Due to fear of crime at night, vendors close their shops early, a decision that forces some families to sleep hungry, especially when essential commodities in a homestead get depleted — breadwinners who come back home late at might miss this opportunity too.
Darkness also dictates the time that public transportation should close. The staff, too, are victims of crime, and they do not risk losing their daily earnings to carjackers and robbers. Therefore, if an emergency occurs, there would be no means of transportation to a major hospital. This situation suggests that most people who fall sick in these areas may succumb due to late attendance.
Therefore, the use of solar street lights in these informal settlements has enabled vendors to extend their closing times due to reduced crimes and improved visibility. This type of street light has provided an opportunity for the development of 24/7 clinics and chemists to ensure that members of the community get access to medicine during the night. It also means that there will be transportation during the wee hours of the night, ready to cater for any emergencies.
Job Opportunities And Employment
These street lights have also opened an opportunity for new vendors who use this time to sell commodities to increase their income. Most night vendors sell food products to earn an income from workers who get back home late, and probably they didn’t get something to ear during the day. The rest of the night vendors will be selling commodities such as wearables and among others.
Installing solar street lights in these informal settlements areas is a big risk. There is a need for security to guard these retrofits against plunder. Assigning members of the community to be in charge of the solar street lights creates employment.
The installation of the solar street in these areas needs some technical and manual labor. Members of the community can fill up these types of jobs. Some community members may see the project as a source of education to learn more about solar energy and technology.
Most people living in these informal settlements work extra hard to improve their living standards; They often look for late-night jobs to increase their incomes. However, they have one main challenge; coming back home when it is dark. Walking at night can get you robbed or injured due to poor visibility.
The benefits of Solar street lights have made it easy for people to take up late-night jobs and come back home safe without getting injured or losing any hard-earned valuables.
People who engage in criminal activities during the night period do so because it is not easy to identify someone in the dark. However, lighting up the streets has greatly put them off, making it safe for the community to operate at night.
Also, criminals have mastered the surroundings, and so they know where to hide in case of pursuit. Illuminating the streets makes it easy for the pursuers, can be the police or concerned members of the community, to easily monitor the movements of the pursued. It has improved surveillance in these communities.
The presence of lighting at night allows people to stay up late. Having people at night and moving around creates more witnesses, a situation that prevents crime from happening. Putting up street lights in low-income urban areas has greatly improved security in the community and reduced crime rates, especially rape cases in women.
Reduces Night Accidents
Low-income urban areas are known for poor road infrastructure. It is a danger to those pedestrians who walk next and close to the roads. Accidents may also occur due to poor visibility as the drivers attempt to avoid the potholes common in these roads.
The public vehicles used to ferry people to and from the informal communities are not always properly maintained. If one or both of the headlights of an unroadworthy vehicle fail during the night, a fatal accident may occur. Poor visibility may lead a drunkard or passenger towards the roads, which leaves them prone to getting knocked down by a car.
On the brighter side, the installation of solar street lights has seen a drastic decrease in road accidents in these areas.
In the process of generating solar power for the streetlights, surplus energy can be put to use by the community to power their homes. The use of solar electricity in low-income urban areas can improve the lives of many households by reducing utility bills and preventing global warming due to the use of green energy.
Meet Basic Needs
As mentioned earlier, there are challenges in terms of limited water resources. Due to the high population in the area, there are long queues in the water harvesting centers, especially when everyone decides to go there early in the morning. Solar street lights have allowed women to source for their basic needs earlier at night to save time.
The benefits of solar street lights in low-income urban areas are numerous and are aimed to enhance security and provide income. The six benefits suggest that solar-powered streetlights are a great asset in the informal settlement.