Those walking the Southfield City Centre Trail near Red Pole Park in the evenings are finding things a little brighter, the result of a new solar-powered, motion-activated lighting system recently installed this fall.
The lights, known as solar bollards, have been added along a 400-foot-stretch of the Trail as part of a grant awarded by the Michigan Mobility Funding Platform to Ann Arbor lighting system developer APT Solar Solutions.
The group represents a partnership with the Office of Future Mobility and Electrification, Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Department of Transportation. The goal is to accelerate the growth of non-motorized transportation initiatives throughout the state.
With 20 miles of non-motorized pathways, Southfield was a natural to be selected as one of 12 Michigan test sites for the solar bollards, says Souzan Hanna, ENV SP, LEED AP and sustainability planner for the City of Southfield.
“Each unit is completely offgrid, which means there’s no connection to any electric lines or conduit being run from a utility. The source of energy is from the series of solar panels within each bollard,” says Hanna. “The lights begin to activate around dusk and give off a soft glow. Because they’re motion-activated, if someone walks or rides a bike along the path, the sensors illuminate a brighter light for safety purposes.”
Hanna imagines a future where solar bollards could be installed throughout the Southfield City Centre’s 20 miles of trails.
“These types of projects are part of our commitment to sustainable initiatives throughout the city. They’re an important enhancement to the quality-of-life advantages Southfield offers its businesses and residents.”