IDF to continue its move 'off the grid' with solar light installations

The solar lighting will be able to brighten areas around army bases that were once too far to connect to the country's power grid.

January 20, 2016 17:48
1 minute read.
renmiller's pilot solar facility in the Negev

renmiller's pilot solar facility in the Negev. (photo credit: PR)


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The IDF is taking the next step in going “off the grid” with a project to install 550 high-intensity solar-powered security lights at army bases in central and southern Israel, the SolarPower company announced on Wednesday.

Though the lights might be viewed as a cost-saving measure for the cash-strapped military, as well as an eco-friendly move, their main advantage is actually their ability to illuminate areas around bases that are too remote to connect to the national power grid, according to Alon Tamari, co-CEO of SolarPower.

The lights are able to stand alone, as they do not require digging or wires that would be necessary to connect conventional devices to an electricity source, he added.

Established in 2003, Solar- Power is an alternative energy systems supplier based in the Sharon region community of Pardesiya.

Speaking with The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday, Tamari emphasized that the project is not about creating alternatives to conventional lighting.

Rather, the systems present “the only option” for lighting up spots around bases’ security fences – and some cases, entrance gates – that would otherwise stay in the dark, he explained.

Still, the smaller amount of installation work required results in savings, which Tamari said overshadows the eventual energy savings and eco-friendly benefits that will come about once the lights are up and running.

“Green is always nice, but at the end of the day, it’s a cost-effective solution,” he said.

Each individual light system consists of solar panels that store the sun’s energy and send it to power an LED lightbulb. They will also be equipped with a backup battery bank capable of providing four days of lighting. This may be unnecessary, however, since an average cloudy day still provides 50-60 percent of the solar energy of a sunny day, according to Tamari, and therefore enough energy to power the lights through the night.

Overall, the project will cost about NIS 6 million, with a pilot stage starting in about a month. All of the lights should be up and running in six to 10 months, Tamar said.

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