Even during Vermont's shortest days, the systems can collect enough energy to support their normal operation through 15 hour nights. This is partly due to algorithms built into the controller to monitor and adjust voltage from the solar module (Maximum Power Tracking).

Solar Powered Lighting Case Study - Brattleboro Hospital

Contributed by | SolarOne

Project Location:
Brattleboro, VT

Engineering Firm:
Stevens & Associates
Brattleboro, VT

Lighting Representative:
Charron Inc.

Winters in Vermont are tough, especially so if you’re a nursing student attending required practical training at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and can’t find a parking space.

Between limited parking to start with, mountains of snow in the parking lot and frequent group visits from nearby schools, Rob Prohaska, Director of Plant Services, had a parking problem.  The hospital identified a nearby weed strewn lot within walking distance and arranged to lease the space for auxiliary parking. 

There was no doubt in Prohaska’s mind that energy efficient LED would be the right choice for lighting.  As he began to tally up the costs of a new and separate meter from the utility company, in addition to expensive trenching and wiring costs,  Solar Powered Lighting began to look like the best solution. 

Now that the solar powered lighting systems are installed, plans are in place to expand the use of Solar Powered Lighting to other areas of the campus, even where meters are located nearby. Rob Prohaska reported, “nearby businesses are wanting to come on board as well.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, this has always been a progressive town.”

The lighting layout uses nine SolarOne Shoebox Series Light Fixtures to illuminate the auxiliary parking lot behind a nearby pizza shop.  During peak hours, the average light level in the lot is just over 0.5 FC with an average to minimum uniformity ratio of 3.6 to 1.  The evenness of the lighting, combined with the white color temperature result in comfortable visibility at these comparatively low levels.

Rob Prohaska mentioned that the SolarOne SO-Bright® Controller’s flexibility and control was a big plus as well.  The controller offers a wide range of options for lighting profiles, providing peak lighting levels when they are needed and allowing for a wide range of flexibility and control through a remote control communication device.  These options provide energy savings that translate into savings on system costs.

Even during Vermont’s shortest days, the systems can collect enough energy to support their  normal operation through 15 hour nights.  This is partly due to algorithms built into the controller to monitor and adjust voltage from the solar module (Maximum Power Tracking).  When inclement weather strikes, as it often does in the Northeast, the battery storage is prepared to support the system for 8.5 days with no sun at all.

Photos Courtesy of Robert Prohaska

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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