Solar Energy “Doing its Bit” in Iraq

Solar energy’s past may conjure up images of Birkenstock-wearing, peace-loving environmentalists but in solar energy’s maturity today, the technology is finding far more varied uses. Lighting up Iraq for the United States military is just one of them.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – June 15, 2004 [] Carmanah Technologies Corporation received an order for approximately $370,000 from the U.S. Army to supply solar-powered LED (light-emitting diodes) aviation lights to three air bases in Iraq. The order is for more than 500 units of Carmanah’s Model 601 and 700 Series Aviation Lights, to be used for fixed wing and rotary aircraft at expedited airfields in the regions of Mosul, Tikrit and Taji. Applications will include runway edge lighting, runway caution zone lighting, threshold lighting, taxiway edge lighting, apron edge lighting and obstruction lighting. Carmanah has now supplied more than 7,000 units to 45 different air bases in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and North America. Customers include the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marines, Air National Guard, as well as other international military organizations. The company said the primary benefits of their solar-powered LED lighting technology includes reduced capital costs, simple installation, high performance, zero maintenance, proven reliability and night vision goggle (NVG) compatibility. In a separate development, the U.S. Army recently purchased 47 Carmanah solar-powered LED obstruction lights (Model 601) for perimeter lighting of downtown buildings and telecommunication towers in the city of Baghdad, Iraq. “We are proud to be providing critical safety for the rebuilding of Iraq,” said Carmanah’s CEO, Art Aylesworth. “The simplicity and reliability of Carmanah’s solar technology is proving to be an ideal solution for the country’s struggling infrastructure.” Aylesworth said the U.S. Coast Guard installed the company’s marine lights last April to guide humanitarian supply ships into the Port of Umm Qasr, and now their aviation lights will guide helicopter pilots in the skies over Baghdad. Carmanah said sixteen U.S. military helicopters have crashed in Iraq since March 2003, with eyewitness reports in at least one instance suggesting a collision with ground obstructions (wires). Carmanah’s obstruction lights will aid in the identification of low-lying objects in the pilots’ flight paths and enhance night safety in Baghdad. U.S. military pilots report that Carmanah’s LEDs are a safer light source than traditional incandescent bulbs, which cause a “blooming” or blinding effect on the pilots’ NVG (night-vision goggle) displays, the company said. Even back in the United States, Carmanah’s solar lighting solutions played a security role for the government. The G8 Summit was held June 8-10 this year in Georgia USA and as part of security measures for the event, Carmanah was contracted by the U.S. Coast Guard to fill a priority order for 15 700 Series solar-powered LED marine lights. These lights were used during initiatives to secure Georgia’s 160 km coastline, plus portions of neighboring South Carolina and Florida.
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