This December, New Year’s Eve revelers will have a close-up view of Times Square’s first environmentally friendly billboard powered entirely by wind and sun. There is however one small problem. The billboard will be lit by floodlights rather than light-emitting diodes. It won’t have a backup generator, so it could go dark during a long period with little wind or sun. But Ricoh spokesman Ron Potesky said the sign’s turbines will probably be able to keep the billboard lit even after four days without breezes or bright sun.
Construction on the 35,000-pound sign advertising Ricoh Americas Corp. is to begin this month across the avenue from the building where the ball drops on New Year’s Eve. A lighting ceremony for the 126-foot wide, 47-foot tall sign is scheduled for Dec. 4.
Powered by 16 wind turbines and 64 solar panels, the sign is expected to save $12,000 to $15,000 per month in electricity costs. Ricoh, an office equipment and document storage supplier, estimates the sign will also keep 18 tons of carbon out of the environment.