Department of Highways, District 11
GOVERNOR ERNIE FLETCHER AND THE KENTUCKY TRANSPORTATION CABINET INSTALL SOLAR POWERED SCHOOL FLASHERS School Flashers Installed in Knox and Whitley Counties
Manchester, Kentucky - (August 9, 2006) – Today, Governor Ernie Fletcher and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) announced the installation of the first solar powered school flashers in Knox and Whitley Counties. These devices will significantly reduce energy consumption and are environmentally friendly.
"Governor Fletcher has directed the transportation cabinet to examine every feasible avenue to improve safety in and around school zones," said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Bill Nighbert. "Implementing this new technology improves safety and also underscores our commitment to fiscal responsibility and environmental awareness.”
Solar powered school flashers use a solar panel to recharge batteries powering two 12 inch LED flashing signal beacons. The two LED signal lights mount above and below a “SPEED LIMIT 45 MPH WHEN FLASHING” sign. The flashing lights alert motorists to slow down and drive at a reduced and safer speed.
The initial cost for installation of the solar powered flashers is approximately $2,500 each which is a little more than a traditional light installation. However, the LED flashers save monthly electricity costs of $15 per month, for an estimated annual energy savings of over $180 per year.
“The new LED technology used for the flashing lights has a very low energy consumption making the solar power a good viable choice,” said Mike West, Traffic Engineer. District Traffic Crews are impressed by the simplicity, ease and speed of installation and recently completed installation of the flashers at the new Knox Central High School located off US 25E in Barbourville and Whitley North Elementary on KY 26 between Corbin and Williamsburg.
The solar powered flashers eliminate installing electrical meters, conduit, poles and transformers for an electrical service. This makes the solar powered units less intrusive on the environment and greatly simplifies and accelerates the installation process.
“We are excited to be using the devices and are anxious to study their performance,” said Mike Calebs, Branch Manager for Traffic. “We anticipate expanding our use of these solar powered panels.”
The School Flashers create awareness and alert motorists of the need to reduce their speed and be cautious as they enter these school zones during the 35 minute morning convening and afternoon dismissal time periods. Generally the speed limit is 10 mph lower than normal, in some rural areas it may be reduced an additional 10 mph, when the flashers are operational.