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SEPCO's blog on all things renewable and green

Milestone at SEPCO – 20 Years Strong

Posted by SEPCO

2/20/14 10:02 AM

20-Years

Solar Electric Power Company (SEPCO) is proud to announce that they are celebrating their 20th anniversary. SEPCO was founded in February 1994 by Steve Robbins, a pioneer in the industry and developer of the first commercial solar street light. SEPCO has been able to take the developing technology and educate and promote the products fueling the solar lighting industry growth.

Steven Robbins came from a background in electrical engineering and is a veteran of the US Air Force. Partnering with his wife, CFO Susan Robbins, as well as two generations of family, SEPCO is a true family operated business. SEPCO also employs an in-house staff of sales, support, production, engineering, and all other departments with all employees working in tune with each other helps to provide award winning customer service.

SEPCO’s growth is complimented by their integrated sales approach with North America’s largest lighting fixture manufacturer, Hubbell Lighting. This approach has been successful by integrating SEPCO’s commercial solar power solutions and top of the line LED lighting fixtures to promote projects through channel sales with manufacturers’ representatives and distribution. SEPCO has also cataloged their products with Grainger, a fortune 500 industrial supply company. SEPCO’s work with the government through their long term GSA contract, held since 2002, provides government direct sales.

The first couple of years as a manufacturer SEPCO was also an educator teaching the customers how they can deliver power and operate lighting and camera systems when no grid power was available at the sites.  Many other manufacturers in the industry have come on board to sell similar products and have helped to bring the industry to a sustainable market where it is today. The most recent shift in the maturing industry is indicative of the projects that were being funded by government backed funds switched to a sustainable market driven by municipal, commercial and privately funded projects. Consumers can feel confident in products such as SEPCO’s who have had their line of commercial solar lighting and off grid solar power systems NRTL listed for the US and Canada.

SEPCO and The Robbins Family are excited for the future of the industry and look forward to providing products which support sustainable clean energy for their customer’s needs.
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Topics: SEPCO News & Information

Decorative Solar Street Lights for Ginn Sur Mer

Posted by SEPCO

1/15/13 9:30 AM

Solar Post Top LightWith the rise in energy costs, street lighting can be difficult for many areas. Ginn sur Mer has taken steps to minimize energy costs and reduce energy consumption by installing decorative solar powered street light systems. Since the units are self-contained, installation is cheaper and easier than with standard electrical lights.

Since Ginn sur Mer is located in Grand Bahamas, a hurricane riddled area; lighting is one of the main concerns when power goes down for safety and security. Since the solar street lights provide battery storage for up to five days of light, lack of power is not an issue for these lights. If a hurricane does shut down the power, Decorative Post Top Solar Lightthe solar panels will still charge the battery and provide lighting, no matter how long the island is without power.

The street lights installed at Ginn sur Mer are a decorative acorn style light. These lights are powered from dusk to dawn year around. The solar panels are all on the bottom of the pole with the acorn light fixture on top. This provides a more decorative and architectural installation and lowers the wind resistance drastically on the pole. Once completed, the area will be completely lit by these solar powered acorn street lights and will add safety and lower costs of residences and visitors.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, SEPCO News & Information, Street Lighting

Portable Solar Street Lights for Industrial Mining Facility

Posted by SEPCO

11/13/12 9:37 AM

Solar Street Lighting SystemWhen a large industrial mining company had a need to provide lighting for key areas within their massive, constantly changing land mine facility, they turned to SEPCO to help design fully portable, off-grid solar power lighting solution. The street light systems needed to be moved as the terrain changed as well as provide efficient lighting for safety and security of workers of the mine. Since this cannot be done with traditional electric lights, solar street lighting systems were the best option for the mining company.

After gathering all pertinent information pertaining to the mining company’s lighting needs and requirements, SEPCO designed a system that combines our ultra-reliable off-grid, pole mounted solar power system with a very durable, high performance Genesis LED light fixture. These systems operate for a few hours after dusk during peak mine operation hours before automatically switching over to energy and cost efficient motion-activated lighting for the rest of the night. This lowered the overall cost of the project by having the lights only run when needed.

As indicated in the project photos, the mining company embedded our pole mounted solar street lighting systems inside a giant tire filled with concrete as the means to create a free-standing, completely portable industrial lighting system that can be quickly/easily moved with a forklift anywhere throughout the entire mining facility.  A very creative application of off-grid solar lighting to be sure! 

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Topics: SEPCO News & Information, LED Lighting, Street Lighting

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

Remarkable Solar Lighting Solution for Jack McLean Park

Posted by SEPCO

9/18/12 9:30 AM

SolarParkingLotLightIn the summer of 2007, the City of Tallahassee, FL contacted SEPCO regarding a lighting project for Jack McLean Park.  According to the city’s website: “The 52-acre Jack L. McLean, Jr. Park provides active and passive recreation facilities, including five covered picnic shelters with grills, two comfort stations, a playground, four basketball courts, two tennis courts, a 24-station fitness trail, two bike trails, and two sand volleyball courts. The park is named for former City Commissioner Jack L. McLean, Jr., who was the driving force behind the acquisition and development of the former Southside Park.”  The park also includes a 20,386 square foot recreation center and aquatics complex.

The city was looking for a solution to light the parking lot for the park facilities.  No electrical power was readily available, so solar lighting was the obvious choice.  A SEPCO agent met with several city officials at the park to assess the site.  The lights would need to be placed on the east and west perimeters of the parking lot.  This seemed to cause one major challenge: both the east and west perimeters of the parking lot were lined with a tall canopy of pine forest.  This would cause serious shading issues for the solar panels.

SEPCO was tasked with solving the shading issue.  Normally the solar panels are faced directly south at an angle of 45° to the ground.  This allows the panels to be exposed to the most amount of sunlight in the winter-time; when the days are shortest, and the sun travels across the sky on a more southern plane.  If this mounting method was used for the parking lot, the solar on the east side of the parking lot would be shaded for most of the first half of the day.  The solar on the west side would be shaded for most of the second half of the day.

Solar Powered Parking Lot LightsSEPCO decided the best course of action would be to face the solar panels on the east side of the lot west, and the west side of the lot east.  This would allow the solar panels to take advantage of the maximum amount of sunlight when they are out of the shade.  Since the panels would still not be exposed to as much sunlight as they normally would, the solar power assemblies were also oversized for the load.  Time clocks were also included with the systems.  This would allow the lights to be set to run only during peak hours to conserve energy.  The clocks also would allow the runtime to be reduced in case the shading turned out to have more of an affect than anticipated.

In the end, the city used the SEPCO equipment to set specifications for a bid.  The city had the lights installed, and now has a solar lighting compliment to its beautiful family-friendly park.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, SEPCO News & Information

Bouton School Solar Power System: Blast from the Past

Posted by SEPCO

8/30/12 9:35 AM

St. Lucia is an oval shaped island oriented North / South. The southwest is rugged, isolated, and characterized by the Piton Mountains. There is an isolated village known as Bouton that remains without power, but has a diesel generator which only operates from 6 pm to 11 pm. There are approximately 70 families in the Bouton area.

St. Lucia

In 1996 SEPCO provided a solar power solution for the Bouton school. The school is for children K – 12 and is also serves as a disaster preparedness hurricane shelter for the families, a community hall and meeting place, and an adult teaching facility. The school is constructed of cement block and stucco and contains a steel beam roof. The building is 35’ wide and 70’ long and contains a classroom, a teacher’s storage room, and two restrooms. There is also a wooden library building with books and desks.

The solar solution consisted of a 1400 Watt system constructed of seven 200 Watt panel sections. The panels were attached by four legs welded directly into the interior steel beams. All roof penetrations are sealed with fiber sealing material strips and all wiring was routed inside trunking. Since each panel section power output cable was routed independently so there are no connections on the roof, there is a great increase of system reliability and the system has not required any maintenance.

The storage room contains a locking battery container and a 2400 Watt inverter which provides 220 VAC / 50 Cycles to power standard fixtures and appliances including light fixtures, a computer, color printer, a 29” color TV with VCR, large radio, and the freezer used for the school lunch program.

Steve Robbins provided a comprehensive training program at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College on solar electricity for the twenty students, college professors, electrical engineers, electrical contractors, solar contractors, and members of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, as well as members of the Ministry of Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities.

This system has been working flawlessly ever since initial installation with almost no maintenance needed. The solar power has allowed for better teaching environments and a more efficient learning process that doesn’t rely on time constraints like the past.

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Topics: SEPCO News & Information, Solar Power

Powerful Alpha Flood Light for BOR Tiber Reservoir

Posted by SEPCO

8/23/12 9:30 AM

A recent project with a new customer was a great opportunity for SEPCO to introduce a new product.  The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) at the Tiber Reservoir in Billings, Montana, wanted to use solar power to light their recreational boat ramp.  Working with light fixture manufacturer Beacon Products, SEPCO designed a system using Beacon’s new ALPHA floodlight and SEPCO’s 125 Watt solar electric power assembly.

SolarFloodLight

The ALPHA is a new design that efficiently and effectively provides a lot of light using LEDs and only drawing 18 watts.  As shown in the photographs the ALPHA provides targeted light to a large area.  Controlled with SEPCO’s timing system the floodlight runs during a customer-specified time range which conserves battery life.

Apha Flood Light Solar

With the success of this project SEPCO is looking forward to using the ALPHA in more installations.  We’re especially happy to provide a green solution for the BOR that allows increased use of Montana’s great natural resources.

Solar Flood Light at Night
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Topics: Solar Lighting, SEPCO News & Information, LED Lighting

ABC Domes Solar Parking Lot Lighting: Blast from the Past

Posted by SEPCO

8/16/12 9:30 AM

With hurricanes hitting Florida so often, ABC Domes created dome security storage and business continuity facilities that can withstand winds up to 300 mph. Since lighting is a large part of security, they used our solar parking lot lighting systems to provide outdoor lighting, even when there is no electric available due to down power lines.

SolarParkingLotLights

Our solar parking lot lights provide safety and security to people entering or leaving the dome sites. When the project was initially started, they used our shoebox solar lighting systems, but have since moved up to high efficiency LED lighting systems. These systems run from dusk to dawn year round and do not require any power from the grid.

SolarParkingLotLighting

All the solar lighting systems supplied to ABC Domes can withstand up to 200 mph winds, making them a perfect match to the structural needs of the domes. So far there have been over 30 solar powered parking lot light systems installed at their two facilities since 2007, some in Lakeland, FL and the others in Sealy, TX. They have also installed solar sign lighting systems at each facility entrance.

SolarSignLight

Finally, by adding solar powered lights to their parking lot, solar power systems to the domes themselves, and creating the domes from efficient materials, ABC Domes has been awarded LEED energy savings certifications for each of their facilities. 

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Topics: Solar Lighting, SEPCO News & Information

Decorative Solar Lamp Post Lights on Salerno Road

Posted by SEPCO

7/24/12 9:30 AM

LondonFixtureCloseupIn August of 2010, the Martin County Traffic Division contacted Solar Electric Power Company (SEPCO) requesting a solution for a particular lighting application.  In the recent past, the county had constructed a traffic circle on Salerno Road at the entrance to Indian River State College.  The Traffic Division was worried that the newly constructed traffic circle would present an unexpected obstacle for nighttime drivers.  There was virtually no lighting on the stretch of road involved; and there had never been any traffic lights, stop signs, or other traffic control devices present at that point on Salerno Road.  A nighttime driver, who had not recently been on the same road during the daytime, could easily be unaware and crash into the traffic circle.

The Traffic Division decided the perfect solution to the problem would be to install lights at each end of the traffic circle in order make the obstacle more visible.  There was only one problem, the traffic circle was located in the middle of the road and lacked any electrical infrastructure.  In order to install conventional electric lighting, the county would have had to dig up parts of their newly paved road.  The perfect solution was to install solar lamp post lights. The electrical grid is not required for this type of lighting, since the power source is located on or adjacent to the light pole.

SolarLampPostLightThe Traffic Division requested that the new solar lights closely match a certain style of light already installed throughout parts of the county.  The existing lights were a post top fixture with fluted pole and decorative base.  The lights were painted a green color imitating the look of aged copper.  SEPCO contacted their fixture partner Beacon Products, a division of Hubbell Lighting.  Beacon Products recommended the London post top fixture powder-coated the color Old World Copper.  This light was a very close approximation to the existing lights.

Finally, the Traffic Division stated the desire to keep the light poles as clean as possible and requested the solar power assembly be mounted beside the light pole on a separate pole.  The final product consisted of two 17 Watt LED London fixtures mounted onto a single fluted pole with decorative base and a separate shorter pole with a 170 Watt solar electric power assembly.  One of these assemblies was installed at each end of the traffic circle.  The result was an attractive lighting solution providing nighttime drivers the ability to see a possibly unexpected obstacle.

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Topics: Solar Lighting, SEPCO News & Information

Remote Security & Work Lighting

Posted by SEPCO

6/12/12 7:30 AM

A large commercial gas company cited the following lighting needs for a remote pump and monitoring station: dusk to dawn security lighting in addition to high intensity work lighting on a bi-monthly basis.  Due to the remote nature of the site, the cost to extend the electrical grid for AC powered lights was cost prohibitive. On the other hand, with off-grid solar lighting systems all costs and issues associated with AC power grid are completely eliminated because the lights do not rely on the AC power grid at all, but rather off-grid through the power of clean, renewable solar energy. What a perfect combination of remote security and solar power.

Union Gas Solar Security Light

The lights purchased provide added security to the area and secure the remote pump and monitoring station, as well to the workers that come out bi-monthly. By using solar powered light fixtures, each equipped with a high performance LED light engine with dual light settings provide effective, ultra reliable security lighting. These systems operate dusk to dawn year round in addition to a high intensity work light on a bi-monthly basis with a simple flip of a switch. All things considered, this project is an ideal application of off grid solar power lighting systems!

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Topics: Solar Lighting, SEPCO News & Information, Security Lighting

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