Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sat, June 25

SolarOne Solutions provides off grid lighting on reservations

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — SolarOne Solutions, a provider of professional solar area lighting solutions to customers worldwide, announced in February its acquisition of Inovus Solar, Inc, a solar lighting company with complementary products, markets and technologies.

Nic Kawaguchi, director of marketing for Inovus Solar, said the company sells into three main markets: Native American tribal communities, military and federal governments and municipalities and cities.

“The reason that we have found that tribal communities really get a lot of value with us is because it’s off-grid solar lighting,” Kawaguchi said. “You never have to dig a trench, you don’t have to lay wiring in the ground, you don’t have to put copper, metal in the ground. In terms of remote locations, or even just cost savings, we’re actually cheaper than traditional lighting.”

Kawaguchi cautioned that what his company does it not always a good fit. For example, if there was already lighting in a parking lot, removing that and putting in solar would not be cost effective.

“But if it is new construction, we are going to be cheaper than the alternative,” Kawaguchi said. “Especially with tribal communities. They have to own the cost from start to finish.”

In a neighborhood where a general contractor would be putting in street lights, a customer does not necessarily own the cost of putting up those lights from start to finish.

Kawaguchi said one of the selling points of solar is that it does not rely on fossil fuels.

“We have very long life batteries,” he said. “Especially in warmer climate areas. [The batteries] are lithium, iron batteries and they’ll last 15 plus years. They’ll take the heat…where other batteries will not.”

Depending on geographic locations, the company looks at longitude and latitude to determine average weather patterns and how much energy it can generate and at battery capacity.

“Every situation is going to be different …but during the day, we charge the batteries and at night, the lights go on,” Kawaguchi said.

In cases where there are many days of inclement weather, managing energy output is better, which also improves battery life.

“When there’s too much cloudy weather, the poles go into an energy saving mode,” Kawaguchi said. “Instead of coming on at full brightness for four hours at night and then going into a dim state, it will go two hours at full brightness and then go into a dim state.”

There is a motion sensing option, where when lights are in a dim down state, they will go to full brightness if someone walks by.

The company uses LED technology and partners with manufactures who can control the color of the LED.

Kawaguchi said solar is a much cheaper lighting alternative, which can make the entire project of building housing less expensive, especially in tribal communities.

The company has worked with Hopi Housing and Kawaguchi said he just wants tribal communities to know that this is an option they can explore.

“We’ll tell you right off the bat if this is going to be a good fit or not, depending on what the requirements are,” he said.

With the acquisition of Inovus by SolarOne, the company is now able to light high traffic roads and freeways because of the scale of the products of SolarOne.

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