Indian OOH Media Firm Pairs Billboards With Solar Panel Arrays

February 25, 2022 by Dave Haynes

An Indian OOH media company has announced an interesting new wrinkle to getting approvals for large-format advertising displays – pairing them with solar power generation arrays.

Zest Outdoor has put the money together to put new static – not digital, at least not yet – large format signs in Mumbai that generate revenue through brand advertising and power from the solar panels.

There will be some 12,000 solar panels across as many as 17 billboard faces in western Mumbai, with the generated power used by a railway line. I don’t know if that would be directly or via things like carbon offsets.

One of the billboards suggests it generates enough energy to power 100 street lamps, and my advanced engineering acumen tells me I have no idea what that would mean in terms of meeting power needs if the same ad face was in LEDs instead of printed material.

I mention this because solar is now being used to power transit stop displays. Those are e-paper screens, and therefore need a fraction of the power of LEDs or LCDs. But you can imagine how, with time, we could see a day where large format outdoor signage was partially or fully powered by solar.

If the science doesn’t work, certainly there are lots and lots of highway billboard faces that have back-ends seen only by cows in the fields behind them, that could be filled with solar panels and used simply for generating power to go into the grid.

Solar arrays are already used by some OOH media companies to illuminate printed billboards at night, using LED lighting. This is a calculation from five years ago that showed the math worked well back then, and with all the advances and lowered costs of solar since then, it would make a fair amount of sense.

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