Solar Street Lights USA is supplying Detroit with solar-powered early warning sirens as the city upgrades the system through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) grant. The early warning system helps warn residents and visitors when danger is near and to seek shelter during such an event.
It’s the first time Solar Street Lights USA has used their technology and systems for an emergency response system, according to Solar Street Lights Chief Technology Officer Craig Brumels. “The administrating contractor for the project was West Shores Services Inc. We designed the solar controller and battery portion to hold the modules to their concrete poles,” he said. In all, the company provided 54 units using Eoplly USA Inc.’s PV modules. “They’re about half-installed or maybe two-thirds complete.”
The warning system is primarily to warn of tornados in the vicinity of Detroit, according to Brumels. The devices are wireless, so they can work even if power to the grid goes down. “It’s all RF. They’ve got a small RF transceiver in each with transmitters and antennas,” he said.
Solar Street Lights’ sirens are just part of the revamped system. Brumels said there are other solar-powered sirens being installed as well, some on existing wooden poles, others on new ones.
The company is serving a growing roster of customers, including the military. “We’re seeing a huge increase in demand for solar street lighting from municipalities. But the issues is most can’t find funding right now,” Brumels said. “The cities just don’t have any extra in their budgets.”
The company and its partner, Full Spectrum Solutions, are beginning talks with the city about potentially using their products to fix broken street lights in the city. “A lot of the cabling through the city is bad. They don’t know where it is or where it goes,” Brumels said. “In some areas, they’re talking about a demonstration project with solar lighting.” The solar lighting could help the city reduce costs to fix such lights, which include ripping up the ground and finding which transmission lines to the lights work. The solar light could also provide more reliable lighting.
While the company may be starting talks with Motor City, Detroit hasn’t been its biggest client or region, according to Brumels. “We don’t sell many lights in Michigan. Our biggest markets are South, Southwest and West. We’re starting to see an up tick in projects in Michigan, though,” he said.