Three solar-powered lamp posts shaped like towering palm trees illuminate a busy pedestrian tree-lined street in historic downtown Mexico City, thanks to the technology company Energetika and a pilot programme that is experimenting with the potential for renewable energy in the city. When charged by sunlight for six hours, the solar discs ‘bloom’ for up to ten hours at the end of 16-foot fronds, giving 165 watts of light for passers-by during the night. Looking more like pieces of sculpture than like utilitarian lighting, the solar ‘trees’ were manufactured by prisoners in a local jail, providing ...


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