Southampton Airport has joined in the attempt to reduce their carbon footprint and become the first UK airport to install solar powered runway safety LED lighting.
‘Wig Wags’ as they are nicknamed, mainly for their unique flashing patterns, are being used between the runways and taxiways, to safely guide aeroplanes and other vehicles. Photovoltaic solar panels have been installed, along with batteries to store the electricity harvested, and maintain lighting 24/7. The batteries are able to hold up to 120 days worth of electricity, without any solar charge, which is a huge amount of electricity to keep running for that period of time.
Steve Thurston, the airports Senior Development Manager, said how having this installation to supply 100 of the lights power, has not only decreased their carbon footprint, but also maintenance costs.
“We’ve also been able to install them in the more remote areas of the airport, where there is no access to power supplies. This has saved the airport over £170,000 of installation costs to lay electrics to these areas.” he added.
Southampton is one of numerous international airports that have successfully trialled and installed solar lighting, Toronto in Canada is another. With savings of approximately £170,000 for each airport, probably more with the likes of Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick, this could save a massive amount of money in this industry. As there are over 40 airports in the UK, this has potential to save up to a staggering £6.8 million, which in the current economic situation, would prove to be a ‘no brainer’ in tightening our belts I feel.
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