Case Study by Rachael Bernstone
A long held dream to play golf at night under lights is coming to fruition, thanks to a solution devised by IDAT Electrical that combines the latest in solar and LED technologies, underpinned by in-depth knowledge and experience.
Joe Wright of IDAT Electrical helped Gardens Park Golf Links in Darwin to design and install a trial of new solar lighting systems on the golf course’s first hole. The trial will help to gauge public interest in and reaction to the lights, before potentially rolling out solar lights across the entire golf course.
In the past, Rodger Dee of Gardens Park Golf Links, had tried to come up with ways to illuminate the course at night, which would enable locals and tourists to play golf after dark. Rodger is pleased that – now – he has found the right partner to help source the products, systems and technologies to make his dream a reality.
“Rodger knew what he wanted – he’s been trying to do this for 10 years – but finding the right supplier and contractor to help him was difficult,” Joe says. “In our case, we have a can-do attitude and we knew that the right products and equipment had to be out there. We put a lot of time and effort into research and design, and getting the system up and running and approved for the trial.”
“The main challenge was sourcing the right equipment,” Joe adds. “As a light source, LEDS are fairly new, and there are not many good quality floodlights around.”
To make the lights economical to run and to reduce greenhouse emissions, the LEDs are powered by individual solar collectors which are fixed to the top of each pole. As well as generating energy from the sun, the collectors shield the lights and reduce their impact on nearby residents.
“We are the first golf course with LED lights, and the first with solar powered lights – as part of our trial to light the first hole – thanks to the technology that Joe has found and the plans he put together,” Rodger says. “Although this is something we’ve looked at before, we didn’t proceed because LEDs only became available three years ago, and a solar solution wouldn’t have been efficient with the older style lights, but Joe has taken the project forward at a rate of knots.
“IDAT has the ability, knowledge and foresight to take on a project like this,” Rodger adds. “Joe is fantastic because he is able to plan and install LED and solar lighting systems, both of which are all-new technologies. He is one of just a few people that are already doing so.”
Joe says that while there were some unforeseen challenges during the preparation for Gardens Park trial, his experience on previous jobs and this latest round of research and development proved invaluable to overcome them. With the trial about to commence, he has effectively designed a solar LED system that can now be easily replicated and installed at other recreation facilities and public places – such as golf courses, snow fields, tennis courts, sporting ovals and pedestrian walkways – anywhere around Australia.
The solar LED lighting solution means that sporting clubs and organisations can extend their operating hours and potentially enhance revenue streams by providing services to patrons after dark, and municipal councils can reduce their electricity costs and improve public safety by offering better night time lighting that costs less to run than traditional street lights.
“Knowing what problems you might come across and how to solve those is a big part of the solution,” he says. “We’ve done the hard work already and now other project installations can benefit from our extensive knowledge and experience to navigate this complex design and installation process.”