Ricoh Americas has completed the first 100 percent solar-powered billboard in Times Square. The Ricoh Eco Board, measuring 47 feet high x 126 feet long, consists of 62 solar panels and 24 thin-film PV solar modules. It is also illuminated by 16 LED floodlights.
Ricoh says it will not use conventional electricity from the grid to light the Eco Board and will allow it to go dark due to lack of sunlight.
“When Ricoh decided to advertise in Times Square, we wanted to do so in an environmentally-responsible way that would have minimal negative impact on the environment. Our hope was that the Eco Board would become a powerful symbol of Ricoh’s commitment to green practices and would challenge others to become more active,” said Jason Dizzine, director, corporate communications, Ricoh Americas.
“Most billboards deliver a message, but this billboard is itself the message. For Ricoh, if the sign goes dark, that is ok. What is more important is that Ricoh is sharing in the bettering of our planet for everyone,” he added.
Ricoh worked in partnership with Rec Solar to equip the board with solar modules for low-light conditions, and the Cooley Group for its polymer technology and coatings on flexible reinforced substrates. The system uses thin-film PV solar modules from Xunlight
In 2009, Ricoh set medium and long-term targets to reduce total CO2 emissions 30 percent by FY2020 and 87.5 percent by FY2050, compared to FY2000. The solar-powered billboard is expected to contribute to the company’s emissions reduction targets.
But Ricoh is not the first to launch a renewable energy-powered billboard in Times Square. In 2008, Coca-Cola made the switch to wind power to generate the energy needed for its giant, iconic billboard in Times Square.
Other states also are making the move to solar-powered signage. In December last year, PG&E unveiled the first solar-powered billboard in the U.S.
Florida expects to power more than 1,000 billboards across the state with renewable energy. The $12.5-million project includes the installation of 1,370 individual solar or wind power systems that will return power to the electrical grid.