Off-grid solar module manufacturer OPES Solutions is
expanding its commitment to the use of solar technology in
safety-related applications. In addition to panels for smart lighting
solutions and traffic sensors, the company supplies integrated solar
technology for maritime safety ladders made by the Danish manufacturer
Port-Safety.

The patented “LifeLadder” is an innovative safety feature for quay
walls and is currently installed in the industrial ports, city wharfs,
and marinas of more than 22 countries worldwide. The ladders make harbor
fronts  safer by addressing two major issues: visibility and
maintenance. Made of reinforced synthetic modules, the ladders are
non-corrosive, maintenance-free and have already proven their worth in
harsh maritime environments. LifeLadder’s bright-yellow modules make
them highly visible in the daytime, while solar-powered LED lights
illuminate them at night and thus providing a clear “signpost” to
safety. Mostly unlit, traditional quay wall ladders are barely visible
at night and difficult to find in an emergency. The LED lighting
significantly increases LifeLadder’s safety performance, even during
normal operation.

Solar energy supply even in the far north

“The LifeLadder is a good example of how solar power makes new
functions possible in products and applications that were previously
hardly feasible,” says Robert Händel, CEO of OPES Solutions.
“Connecting individual safety ladders to the power grid can be
complex. With the help of our highly efficient off-grid solar panels and
the integrated battery, however, Port-Safety’s ladders remain reliably
and consistently visible all year round even without a grid connection
and at latitudes of up to 60°N,” Händel adds. The 60° latitude runs
north of Oslo and Stockholm.
Integrated solar panels from OPES Solutions with an output of 4.3 W are
equipped with 3.2 mm tempered glass on the front, while the back
consists of 2.5 mm floated glass, making them tough enough to walk on.
An inner layer of EVA provides the desired black coloring.

“When dealing with safety equipment, quality is crucial. And we are
very pleased with the products supplied by OPES Solutions,” says Lars
Techt Myrhøj, Operations Director & Founder at Port-Safety.

Photovoltaics facilitate smart safety and sensor solutions

The possibilities for the application of solar technology in
safety-related fields go far beyond the supply of lighting solutions, as
OPES Solutions’ customer projects show: In parallel with the
increasing development of Smart Cities goes the demand for sensor
solutions for the collection of safety-related traffic data. This
includes, for example, traffic density measurements and the analysis of
traffic turning at intersections as a means of optimizing the switching
of traffic lights. The decentralized installation of these sensors can
make the specific power supply required for individual sensors both
complex and expensive. This is where photovoltaics comes into its own:
“Today’s sensors have only a low power requirement, which modern PV
panels can easily cover. Without off-grid solar modules, regular
maintenance is necessary to replace batteries. This increases the cost,
which is why, in most cases, solar energy in combination with
rechargeable batteries is the most economical and sustainable option,”
Händel adds.