PV in hurricane-devastated US Gulf Coast shows need for broader action plan
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Photon International, the photovoltaic magazine, has published an informative article about the use of portable solar lighting systems in the help of hurricane recovery efforts and in the effort to improve infrastructure for future disasters.
Solar lighting companies rushed to the scene, providing safety to rescue camps and transportation infrastructures.
Solar aided police forces from nine states at Louisiana’s main emergency response and staging camp in Baton Rouge with security lighting systems supplied by Palm City, Florida-based SOL Inc., formerly Solar Outdoor Lighting Inc. Eighteen systems using panels donated from Sharp were installed by SOL employees; the components and labor were paid for through donations raised by SOL chairman Michael Sonnenfeldt. Another 12 systems were to be installed in other locations, but Rita delayed completion of the task. According to SOL’s J. R. Finkle, who was onsite in Baton Rouge, the company was waiting for the invitation to return. “There are temporary villages going up in all areas without any [electric] infrastructure,” she says. “They will need lights.”
Customers of Canadian-headquartered Carmanah Technologies Corp. of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, allowed their orders to be put on hold so the company could supply Louisiana with hundreds of its solar LED lights attached to buoys to restore direction in shipping channels as well as for bridge crossings on railways and landing strips at airports. “No one said ‘no,'” Carmanah’s Mimi Drabit says of her customers. “We’ve had orders as a result of hurricanes in the past. But this was bigger and more serious than anything else.”