Thursday, December 27, 2007

Good News from Iraq: 27 Dec 2007

From MNF-I, Solar Lights Make Baghdad Market Safer for Shoppers.

BAGHDAD — Until recently, the Rabi fish market – a thoroughfare crowded with little shops and stands in northeast Baghdad – cleared out when the sun went down. But these days, things are different. Thanks to the illumination provided by rows of new, solar-powered streetlights, vendors can continue to ply their wares and shoppers can keep browsing the shops for hours after night has fallen.

The new lights were supplied by the 2nd Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment – the U.S. unit responsible for security in Rabi - as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the market area. Since early December, 40 of the 18-foot-high lights have been installed throughout the marketplace.

The new lights will allow businesses to remain open longer and make the market safer and more enticing for customers, with the end result being a boost to the local economy, said Madison, N.C., native, Capt. Josh Richardson, who commands the 2-319th’s Bravo Battery.

Richardson said people in Rabi had long expressed a desire to keep the market open at night, but the city power grid simply wasn’t reliable enough. With solar technology, however, power shortages are never a problem.

The solar lights now installed in the fish market utilize fairly simple solar technology – each light has a solar panel which soaks up energy during the day. That energy is then used to power the bulbs all night. The lights turn on automatically, and require little maintenance after being installed, Richardson said.

Read the rest here.