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2004 World Technology Awards Winners & Finalists

Carmanah Technologies Inc.

Please describe the work that you are doing that you consider to be the most innovative and of the greatest likely long-term significance.

Carmanah lights are the result of applying technology to real-world problems. Carmanah was the first company in the world to completely integrate LEDs with solar charging and battery power storage for efficient, self-contained lighting solutions. When founder Dr. Dave Green was sailing in the South Pacific an anchor light left on all night drained the ship’s battery and stranding the vessel. This incident led to thoughts of more efficient solar-powered LED-based lighting for complete independence from the power grid.

Carmanah lights withstand salt-water submersion, temperature swings from -40 to +80°, heavy shocks and UV exposure. To trap sunlight from any direction, solar panels are built into each side of the light, or placed on top of the light inside a shock-resistant dome. Unique features of the technology include: no battery or bulb replacement, no maintenance for the lifespan of the product, extreme durability and a recyclable battery system.

Carmanah marine lights are replacing the bulky solar arrays and banks of car batteries traditionally used to power marine navigation lights. Costs for maintaining each navigation marker have fallen from as high as $50,000US to zero and large boats are no longer required for installation. This, combined with up to five years of maintenance-free operation, has dramatically reduced the environmental impact of the aids to navigation system while improving reliability and safety. The Canadian Coast Guard expects to save three million dollars as a result of converting to Carmanah’s solar-powered LED aids to navigation. www.solarmarinelights.com

Carmanah became actively involved in the railway market in 2001, and was under contract to Transport Canada to develop a national standard for warning lights at railway/highway crossings. The new standard incorporated LED lighting into railway/highway crossing signals for the first time. www.railwaycrossings.com

In 2002 Carmanah introduced the world’s first solar-powered bus stops and shelters to North America, Europe and Australia. Carmanah bus stops are currently used by over 60 transit authorities in 24 states and five provinces/territories. Carmanah products enhance the transit experience while improving safety, usability and efficiency. On November 5, 2003, Carmanah's London Bus Stop received "High Commendation" for innovation at the 8th annual UK Bus Industry Awards. Since the introduction of solar-powered bus stops in London night ridership has increased by 16% while overall ridership has increased by 7%. It is predicted that solar lighting technology could reduce shelter lighting costs by 36 percent in London. www.transitlights.com

In 2003 Carmanah entered the aviation market, developing taxiway and obstruction lighting solutions for airports. Carmanah’s portable, self-contained lights are ideal for small airfields or in situations where infrastructure isn’t available such as for humanitarian efforts. www.solarairportlights.com

Recently Carmanah reveived the Environmental Award for Export Performance from the Globe Foundation of Canada and a Corporate Award for Innovation from the Canadian Urban Transit Association. Carmanah was also awarded the British Columbia Technology Industries Association award for Best Application of Technology. In 2003 Carmanah was recognized with an Applied Energy Innovation Award from the Canadian Institute of Energy. Carmanah was ranked #330 in North America in the 2003 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 and #9 in Canada in the Profit 100 ranking of Canada's Fastest Growing Companies.

Carmanah continues to develop the core technology and apply it to new markets around the world. Carmanah lights will be used in Athens at the watersports venue during the 2004 Olympic Games. A home address sign product was unveiled early in the spring of 2004, tapping into the consumer market for the first time. And in June 2004, Carmanah will reach another milestone, shipping their 100,000th light to the world market.