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Station installs solar street lamps

Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Installation and Logistics personnel recently began installing the first solar street lights on station to increase safety as well as progress toward the Corps' ongoing mission to increase energy efficiency.

The $442,402 project will place 30 solar-powered fiberglass street light poles along station streets by the end of December.

“Streets left in darkness are a danger to the Marines on station,” said Ron Durfey, I&L energy manager. “We haven't had any accidents yet, but there's still a risk.”

The project, which was originally slated for 2009 but put on hold for cost issues, is employing a local contractor, Mac Electric.

Federal mandates are pushing military facilities toward more environmentally friendly technology. The idea is to reach net zero, meaning facilities are no longer dependent on outside sources of electricity, said Durfey.

“Green initiatives will be seen more on station,” said Durfey. “The idea is less power per square foot.”

The station has already seen several solar projects completed in the past two years with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, commonly known as the stimulus package.

Mac Electric took on the task of designing and constructing the solar light emitting diode lights using unconventional drilling methods.

“We want accurate excavation,” said Araunaud Harrington, Mac Electric project manager. “We don't want to hit any pipes so we using pressurized air to make the holes.”

In order to make relocation easy, the poles were simply buried, not cemented in.

Future energy saving projects are planned, as the station works to meet the Corps' energy demands.

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