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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

Use Solar Powered Traffic Flashers to Increase Safety

Posted by SEPCO

10/30/12 9:30 AM

Solar Powered Traffic FlasherTraffic warning flashers are the perfect applications for off-grid solar power solutions. These safety devices are needed to warn drivers of upcoming obstacles and hazards on the roadway.  The flashers are often located in areas where the electrical grid is not available. Solar powered traffic flashers can be used at these locations without the need for the electrical grid. Solar panels produce their own electrical energy that is stored in batteries which are used to power the flashers. As an added benefit, the flashers will still function during power outages.

Numerous different operational profiles are available for solar warning flashers. One of the most popular options is 24/7 operation, which is the standard configuration. Other applications require only nighttime operation using a dusk to dawn controller. School zone flashers usually require the flashers to operate only 

solar hazard flasher

for a few hours a day Monday through Friday. This can be accomplished using a time clock that can be set for a weekly program or a more customizable 365 day computer. Push button and remote activation are also available.

In the standard configuration, the solar module is mounted at the top of an aluminum pole with a breakaway base. The battery and control electronic enclosure can either be mounted with the solar at the top to deter vandalism, or can be mounted lower on the pole for easy access. The flasher fixtures and informational signs can be mounted anywhere on the pole. 

Solar warning flashers provide convenient and functional safety for roadways virtually anywhere it is needed. 

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What is NET ZERO

Posted by SEPCO

10/25/12 9:55 AM

NET ZeroNet Zero can be looked at in a multi sectional or holistic approach of reducing Energy, Water, and Waste on a facility or home. 

ENERGY - Produce as much energy as the facility or home uses. 

The first thing to look at in a facility or a home is to analyze how much energy is being used and how to best reduce that energy consumption.  Some of the things that should be completed first are to retrofit all appliances to an Energy Star appliance.  Analyze your air and heating options and put in automatic controls or occupancy sensors on your lighting fixture.  Replace all lighting fixtures to LED or Fluorescent lamps.  Possibly upgrading to higher insulation and roofing materials.  Once all of these steps have been completed, then you are ready for the final investment, a renewable energy production system.  For example, adding solar photovoltaic modules to the home, a solar hot water heater, etc.  If this was completed first you would only be able to generate enough energy for possibly just what you were able to reduce.  The first and main goal in energy reduction to obtain net zero is REDUCTION. 

WATER - Net Zero water installation limits the consumption of freshwater resources and returns water back to the same watershed so not to deplete the groundwater and surface water resources of that region in quantity and quality over the course of a year.

Strategies such as harvesting rainwater and recycling discharge water for reuse can reduce the need for municipal water, exported sewage or storm water. Desalination can be utilized to convert briny, brackish or salt water to fresh water so it is suitable for human consumption or irrigation.

To achieve a net zero water installation, efforts begin with conservation followed by efficiency in use and improved integrity of distribution systems. Water is re-purposed by utilizing grey water generated from sources such as showers, sinks, and laundries and by capturing precipitation and storm water runoff for on-site use. Wastewater can be treated and reclaimed for other uses or recharged into groundwater aquifers.

WASTE - To reduce, recover and reuse waste streams.

The approach to creating a net zero waste installation is similar to creating a net zero energy installation. The first approach to achieve net zero reduces, reuses, and recovers waste streams, converting them to resource values with zero landfill over the course of a year. The components of net zero solid waste start with reducing the amount of waste generated, re-purposing waste, maximizing recycling of waste stream to reclaim recyclable and compostable materials, recovery to generate energy as a by-product of waste reduction, with disposal being non-existent.

Every day, more recycling strategies are developed moving beyond metals, paper and cardboard to include mattresses, glass, plastics, batteries, computer printers and motor oil. The best strategy is to consider the waste stream when purchasing items, reduce the volume of packaging, reuse as much as possible, and recycle the rest. A true cradle-to-cradle strategy considers the end state at the time the purchase decision is made. A net zero waste strategy eliminates the need for landfills, protects human health, optimizes use of limited resources and keeps the environment clean.

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Topics: Green Ideas, Clean Energy

Solar Lamp Post Lights: Forgotten Commercial Solar Lights

Posted by SEPCO

10/23/12 9:30 AM

Residences are the primary users of lamp post lights. These lights are generally controlled by either a photo sensor or a switch. These lights provide additional safety by lighting a small area, typically in the front yard of a home. However, these typically beautiful lights can be used in many other applications.

Solar Lamp Post Light

Lamp post lights can be used for lighting of small roundabouts or traffic circles. These provide additional lighting that typically does not support the infrastructure of standard electric. The lamp post solar lights provide enough lighting for traffic to see other vehicles or obstructions in the traffic circle.

Lamp Post Solar Lights

Solar lighting for lamp posts has also been used in front of buildings in the roundabouts or entrances. The light fixtures provide a more decorative and architecturally blended fixture compared to most industrial fixtures.

Lamp Post Solar Lighting

New light post fixtures are providing high powered lighting using LED technology while keeping in with the standard decorative styling. Multiple styles include coach, acorn and globe fixtures to intricate scrollwork fixtures and modern looking slide fixtures. All fixtures can easily be powered by solar either on the same pole or multiple fixtures on a central power station that can be blended into the surrounding landscape.

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Topics: Solar Lighting

The GreenWareHouse Effect (Infographic)

Posted by SEPCO

10/18/12 9:30 AM

With our huge moving happening...well right now as we speak...I wanted to share this awesome infographic with you. A lot of the below has already be incorporated into our new facility, some still to come. What is one thing not on the list that you think is missing? Let us know in the comments below.

The Green Warehouse Effect

The Green Warehouse Effect

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Topics: Infographics

Announcement: SEPCO is Moving to a New Facility

Posted by SEPCO

10/16/12 9:30 AM

SEPCO New BuildingWe will be moving to our new state-of-the-art facility to streamline manufacturing and expanding to meet the worldwide demand for high-quality, economical clean energy outdoor lighting solutions. The new building provides more space with the larger warehouse facility and additional offices for staff. It also is located in the heart of Stuart.

“We are very excited to expand to a new, larger facility. We are proud to maintain our manufacturing operations in Stuart,” Steve Robbins, president of SEPCO, says. “The move will improve our production, support our continuing growth and support innovation of new products.”

SEPCO’s new facility is in the Martin Square Corporate Park. The move is almost complete with the factory moved and set up and the offices moving tomorrow and Thursday. We will be down from around 3pm on Wednesday and return to full function at 1pm on Thursday.

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Topics: SEPCO News & Information

Solar Bollard Lights: Forgotten Commercial Solar Lights

Posted by SEPCO

10/11/12 9:30 AM

SolarBollardLightBollard lights are popular in pathway and walkway applications. These too can be powered by solar panels. Large panel assemblies can power multiple fixtures with the solar power assemblies being fit into the surrounding landscaping, or there are solar bollard fixtures that have the solar panels fit into the top of the bollard. There are two major differences between these two applications; larger solar means higher powered lighting and smaller, built in solar panels provide lower power lighting.

High powered bollards are great if security and areas where a larger amount of lighting is required. These larger powered bollard fixtures can be installed anywhere on a walkway with the solar power nearby to showcase a green initiative, or be remotely mounted and blended within the landscape. The bollard fixtures themselves come in a variety of styles and colors to match the architectural surroundings.

Bollard Light Solar Powered

Lower powered bollard lights with the solar panels built into the top of the fixture are used primarily for accent lighting. These fixtures provide enough light to mark the walkway area so pedestrian traffic knows where the walkway exists. These fixtures also come in a variety of styles and colors to match the architectural surroundings and do not have to worry about blending the solar power system within the area.

So next time you are looking for an architectural way to light up your pathway, look into solar bollard lighting. Its a perfect way to be beautifully sustainable.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Landscape Lighting, Pathway Lighting

AHGC Solar Parking Lot Lighting: Blast from the Past

Posted by SEPCO

10/9/12 7:30 AM

Anaheim Hills Golf Club Solar LightIn 1999 SEPCO provided 12 custom solar parking lot lighting systems to Anaheim Hills Golf Club in California. These systems were purchased through a bid by the City of Anaheim Hills to provide sustainable lighting that would save money and improve security.

The systems also allowed the golf club to install lighting in their current parking lot without having to tear up the ground / concrete. In 2004 they purchased 21 additional systems to provide lighting to additional areas.

Solar Parking Lot Lighting InstallThis project has worked without fail for over 13 years and provides the needed security to the players of the golf club. Each system contains two 100 Watt solar panel assemblies flat mounted on the pole with two pendant coach style fixtures.

Each fixture is powered by a single panel assembly, battery, and controller, making each fixture independent from the other on the same pole. The fixtures were sent from Anaheim Hills Golf Course for SEPCO to modify to work with DC power. Other than standard maintenance of changing the battery, lamp, and ballast, these systems have operated reliably for the city. These systems had also proven an ROI in the first year!

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Parking Lot Lighting

Solar Dock Lights: Forgotten Commercial Solar Lights

Posted by SEPCO

10/4/12 9:30 AM

Solar Dock LightOn any coastal town, docks are a familiar sight to see. A lot of times people go out early in the morning and come home late at night. Providing power for lighting to these areas can be complicated, especially if no infrastructure is nearby. Solar power for the dock lights can be the perfect solution, as well as solar for powering small tools needed for the maintenance of the boat and dock alike.

Solar dock lights range from small one LED fixture to bright high powered flood lights. These lights can be easily powered by solar since shading is typically not an issue and the units are self-contained and do not require additional wiring brought to the dock location.

Solar Power for Dock LightThe lights can be powered from dusk to dawn or for any other type of run profile. They can also be switch activated to run only when you require them to run. The battery backup is sized for the application you require and be remotely mounted.

Solar power systems can be used to provide power for other applications as well including to operate small tools or other charging applications. The solar power can be mounted along with the lighting applications providing sustainable power to fit both needs.

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Topics: Solar Lighting

Art Imitates Life: The Future of Street Lighting

Posted by SEPCO

10/2/12 9:30 AM

Wall-EIf you pay close attention to the award winning Pixar movie, WALL-E, you will see that every outdoor street light you see in the movie is powered by solar energy. Hats-off to Pixar animators for their accurate assessment of the future of street lighting! Indeed, due to ongoing advances in solid state LED lighting and off-grid solar power technology respectively, the question is not IF all street lights will be powered by solar energy…but WHEN!

Ongoing advances in solid state LED lighting are centered around ‘lumens per watt’—i.e. the amount of light solid state LED chips can create through a given amount of energy. In the same way that computer chips have become ever smaller and more powerful over the years (ex. the computing power of the new I-Phone 5 would have taken an entire floor full of computers 30+ years ago), the amount of light that LED chips are capable of creating with given amount of energy continues to expand at a rapid pace. As such, it is only a matter of time before a LED street light fixture can produce the same/better light output of today’s high power street light fixtures with a tiny fraction of the energy.  

Solar power is the ideal energy source for LED street lights because it produces direct current (DC) power—which is the exact same energy that solid state LED technology is powered by!  Moreover, ongoing advances in solar and battery storage technology will continue to increase DC power production and storage capabilities while at the same time decreasing overall size and cost of off-grid solar power systems.

For these reasons and more, it is only a matter of time before every LED  street light is powered by clean, renewable solar energy. A classic case of art imitating life!!

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Topics: Solar Lighting, Street Lighting

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