Tim Yusishen, solar energy guru

Clipped from CA, Manitoba, Winnipeg, Winnipeg Free Press, February 24, 2010

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESSRuss Wyatt stands in front of new solar-powered lights in park. ‘They're completely off the electrical grid/ he says.Solar-powered street lamps light paths in Transcona parkBy Tayleigh ArmstrongUNIQUE solar-powered street lamps are now lighting the paths of two Transcona parks, thanks to locally-developed technology.Over the weekend, six LED streetlights, fully powered by photovoltaic light, were installed at Kildonan Meadows Park. Six more will be installed soon at Rayview Drive East Tot Lot.“It’s the first ever streetlight of this calibre done in the province, and probably all of the North,” said Tim Yusishen, president of Solar Solutions Inc, the Winnipeg-based company that created the technology.Photovoltaic lights work by converting light from the sun into electricity. Because they charge all day, they can run for eight to 10 hoursevery night using the energy they stored.“They’re completely off the electrical grid,” said Transcona city councillor Russ Wyatt. “The technology is cutting edge.”Though similar streetlights have worked in other cities, Winnipeg’s cold winters have troubled energy researchers for years. The city’s cold climate and limited hours of sunlight greatly reduced the lamp’s ability to store a large amount of energy.Sunlight Systems was able to create a different type of storage and new ways of capturing the light to make the devices more winter-friendly.Each solar-powered light costs around $8,500, which Wyatt said is about twice the price of a regular streetlight.However, Yusishen said they’re worth the investment because they use no electricity and require verylittle maintenance. He says each lamp should last 40 to 50 years and the solar powered panels should have a 50,000-hour lifetime, which translates to about 17 years.The streetlights were brought in by the Transcona Playground Renewal Association, which felt embracing solar power was important.“People often want to be more environmentally friendly but aren’t sure how,” said Yusishen. “These lights are a useful and visible way of doing that.”Though the lamps are only in the trial stage, Wyatt said he would eventually like to see them in more communities.“My hope is that we can see a city in the future where we may have solar cells on every streetlight in the city,” he said.tay lei gh. armstr ong@f reepress. mb. ca