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Roadway and Transportation Photovoltaic Applications


Departments of transportation and transportation/highways ministries, worldwide,continue to explore uses of photovoltaic power for mobile and on-site roadwayapplications. Notable historic applications include:

· individual emergency (call box) communications
· mobile communications
· signal equipment
· outdoor area lighting
· rest stop indoor lighting

EXAMPLE: Together, Spain, Mexico and California (US) have in excess of 70,000emergency highway call boxes in place. Each system consists of a pole-mounted,self-regulating, battery operated communications system, powered by a small-footprint,PV power module. The installed cost for these modular systems are generallylow compared to traditional line connected systems and comparative costsvary by site depending on traditional costs for line extensions, trenching,easements, etc. The trend in this market segment subcategory is for continuednear-geometric sales growth through 1997. The first PV powered emergencycall boxes was installed by Bob Kauffman and Tom Dyer in 2nd Qtr 1985. Substantialgrowth of sale in this subcategory began in 1990.

EXAMPLE:Tunnel Lighting-Swiss Government
The photovoltaic powered tunnel illumination in the Grimsel-Pass Road Tunnelis designed to help drivers adapt to the change from bright sunlight totunnel darkness. The more direct sun outside, the more light is needed insideto help the driver's eyes adjust. During cloudy weather the average lightlevel can be reduced, thereby reducing the amount of energy required. Siteis located near one of the most powerful hydroelectric power stations inthe European Alps. 312, 55 watt modules, from FABRIMEX in Zurich, produce16.5 kWp.

The main subcategory applications within the transportation market segmentinclude :
· Power for on-board amenities and battery charging for recreationalvehicles in North America and Europe
· OEM automotive and automotive aftermarket ventilation (US, Japan,Europe
· Prototype and competitive PV assisted single passenger road vehicles(Europe, Japan, US, Australia, Baltic, Asian Pacific)

On a widespread basis modular PV kits continue to be available making moduleinstallation quick and straightforward. PV continues to show profitablefuture trends in the RV industry especially for sales and installation services,for new coaches and for the aftermarkets.

Solar electric and electric vehicle racing continues with somewhat lessinternational participation than at its height in 1988-91. Major eventsin the Europe, Australia and the US have traditionally garnered widespreadlocal and international newspress and television media coverage. Many largeautomakers participate and/or have participated including General Motors.

EXAMPLE: The Glacier Express, a well known train connection in Europe, usessolar electricity to its "Panorama" traveling cars. The solarchargers provide battery charging for the on-board refrigerators and freezer,as well as passenger-space ventilation while the coaches are at rest. Thenewer installations use eighteen 50 watt chargers, mounted nine on eachside of the car rooftops
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