NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Let there be energy-efficient light
Polar Tech installs solar-and-wind-powered streetlamp at Kam Lake shop

Daron Letts
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The parking lot outside Polar Tech Recreation is illuminated after dusk by a new clean energy streetlight, and company president Gord Olson believes it represents the first of many in the territory.

nnsl photo

Polar Tech president Gord Olson displays a six-blade turbine in the shop on Monday afternoon. The same kind of device helps power a light post outside the business. The noise made by the propeller at is no louder than a typical speaking voice. - Daron Letts/NNSL photo

It is powered by two 12-volt batteries charged by a 400-watt wind turbine and two 90-watt solar panels perched atop the pole.

"It's been a showstopper. Everybody's checking it out," he said.

Polar Tech imported the pole from China. The company has Canadian distribution rights and this is the first one of its kind brought into Canada, Olson said.

"We set it up and it's working 100 per cent," he added. "You could drop these just about anywhere and walk away. They need very little maintenance as long as they have a little wind."

The 12-metre tall light standard features two 40-watt LED lights that kick in at twilight, then operate at half power after midnight.

The self-sufficient system was installed on Saturday and power was wired up on Sunday, according to Eric Doig, Polar Tech's clean energy division manager.

After lighting up the lot for 12 hours, the wind turbine recharged the batteries by 9:30 a.m., Doig said. Practically noiseless, the six-blade turbine requires a four-knot wind to generate power.

Olson and Doig plan to introduce the system to the City of Yellowknife, the Power Corporation, Department of Transportation, cabin owners and other potential customers.

"We've been dealing with three mining camps that are dying to see this," Olson said.

He also imagines a similar system lighting the new intersection at the Ingraham Trail bypass.

"The possibilities are endless," Olson said. "It's actually quite inexpensive."

The company is in the late stages of completing its design for a cement base to house the battery and wiring in a locked compartment.

"By the end of the week were hoping to having another bunch of poles on order," he said.

"Everything is in an infancy stage but we’re really happy with what we see so far. You’re going to see a lot more of these."

Olson is continuing a clean energy makeover of the 16,000-square-foot shop this summer by installing a wood pellet boiler and covering a section of the roof with solar panels.

"We've got a design happening right now and we're just looking at it," he said.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.