Roadside "Solar Panel" Posts - fitz
In the last year I have noticed a lot of these posts have sprung up in my area (Nothrth East). They are posts about 5 ft tall with a panel about 10" square and facing upwards at 45 degrees mounted on top. The panel looks like a solar panel to me. Out of interest can anyone tell me what they are.
Roadside - AngryJonny
I'm pretty sure they are solar panels, presumably for powering electrical bits and bobs around the roads. I've seen them on top of road signs before where they appear to be charging a battery to run the light when it's dark.
Roadside - John S

Yes,almost certainly solar panels which provide electricity for the sign, telephone or whatever. The electricity is stored in a battery to provide 24 hour power. Although photovoltaic technology is a relatively expensive way of producing electricity, compared to the cost of running a mains supply to a new installation (especially a remote one) then they can be cost effective, as they avoid the need for, and disruption from, the trenching etc. Just drill a hole, pop in the base and away you go. I've seen them in Belgium powering parking ticket machines in town, where presumably the authorities wanted to avoid digging up the road.


john S
Roadside - LongDriver {P}
They seem to have sprung up recently, specifically at the bottom of many exist sliproads on the M6 in Cumbria. There is no apparent equipment nearby which they might supply, hence I assume they are probably for a traffic counter loop.
Roadside - terryb
Yes, pretty common sur le continent. Most new motorways in France (and they're still building them apace over there) have them atop each emergency telephone. Presumably the phones are radio or cellular thus avoiding all need for cables.

Roadside - J Bonington Jagworth
"in Belgium powering parking ticket machines"

They have them here on the Isle of Wight, too. FWIW, solar panels have a handicap in that only one of the cells has to be obscured to stop them working, so it's an odd choice in an area with a large population of seagulls...
Roadside - John S

Hm, the ones I saw were in Ostend. Womder if they get the same problem?


john S
Roadside - J Bonington Jagworth
"Wonder if they get the same problem?"

I do hope so! Of course, the seagull's aim would have to be good to block out a whole cell, and I suspect that the panels produce more than is required, so they probably carry on working. A bit of black tape would do a better job...
Roadside - madman
I think you will find that they have inelligent seagulls in France - they tend to target the locals rather than the technology. Clever birds.
Roadside - Altea Ego
I think you will find that they have inelligent seagulls in
France - they tend to target the locals rather than the
technology. Clever birds.

Being a French seagull it would of course target anything non French.
Roadside - borasport20
seen them in Belgium powering parking ticket machines

We've had them in Wigan for years - although the wisdom of all the ones outside the hospital, under those tall trees, in this permanently sunny town, ;-) is often questioned.

speaking of questionable wisdom, our council treasurer was the man who introduced the parking ticket machine where you have to type in the number element of your registration, to stop you swapping tickets. That works really well these days, doesn't it !

I have to grow old - but I don't have to grow up
Roadside - Bromptonaut
English Partnerships have just converted their parking in Milton Keynes to P & D using solar powered machines. Did not twig until I read this that there was no sign of any mains back up, though the panels were uncovered 10 days or so ahead of go live presumably to charge up batteries. Would high demand in a dark December be enough to knock them out?
Roadside - cockle {P}
If my experience of photo electric cell driven calculators is anything to go by they don't need a lot of light, I've got a calculator about 8 years old which works fine under a 60 watt lamp. I realise that a calculator isn't drawing much in the way of current but it shows it doesn't have to be brilliant sunshine for them to work quite effectively.

Roadside - Alf
Some of them will be seismic detectors for earthtremors.


Roadside - Hugo {P}
They are probably destined to target a new generation of speed cameras!


Value my car