BATON ROUGE, La. – The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced today that it has launched a test program of a new LED solar-powered airport lighting system at the False River Regional Airport in New Roads. The new lighting system is expected to reduce the airport’s current taxiway energy consumption by more than 90 percent, and could one day serve as a model for airports worldwide. This is the first time a system of its type has ever been used.
"DOTD has a long history of innovation and leadership in transportation," said DOTD Interim Secretary Sherri LeBas. "This new system is the first operational solar-powered aviation lighting system in the world as well as the first LED lighting system for general aviation airports in the United States. It is an example of DOTD providing environmentally-sensitive, energy-efficient solutions which will be utilized across the country in the future."
The new technology was developed by ADB Airfield Solutions, an Ohio-based company that manufactures airfield lighting systems and components worldwide. The test program is also part of a low-profile LED fixture design developed by Allen Taylor, DOTD airways systems manager, in conjunction with ADB.
"This new lighting system is a great example of how technology can lower energy usage and be beneficial from a safety standpoint," Taylor said.
The system consists of 164 low-voltage LED lights that are installed flush with the ground. The LED lighting fixtures are expected to last between 50 years and 100 years, and they use a combined total of 800 watts of power at maximum intensity, with a rated lifespan of approximately 100,000-200,000 hours. The traditional lighting fixtures, which were elevated, had a life-span of 10 to 15 years, with each quartz bulb using 45 watts, and a rated lifespan of 1,000 hours. The new taxiway lighting system is totally powered by solar panels, but it can also function with electrical power or diesel generator back-up, if necessary. The solar panels charge a battery bank which can power the taxiway lighting system up to fourteen days with little or no sunlight.
The cost of the test program was $130,000. ADB provided $40,000, and $90,000 came from Louisiana’s Aviation Trust Fund.