If your company was a pioneer in the wind industry, your portfolio includes wind farms from the 80’s, 90’s, or early 2000s. More than likely, you still have older strobe or incandescent lighting products installed on those turbines and have been debating whether to replace them. As with any technology, there have been continual improvements to aviation obstruction lighting. Now may be the right time for a move to LED technology.
Of course, the first consideration when evaluating any product replacement is the capital expenditure and long-term O&M costs. This is where the new LED technology excels. Since its introduction to the industry roughly twelve years ago, LED technology has evolved both reliability and cost. Today, the purchase price of a typical L864 red LED beacon is about half of its original cost. It also comes with a five-year warranty and has a designed life expectancy of 20 years.
If you consider the O&M aspect of using the fit and forget LED technology product, it makes even more sense to replace that older fixture that typically requires maintenance every two to three years. Another often-overlooked benefit with LED technology is the power savings. Current LED technology operates at a cost roughly 10% of the originally installed system. This can equate to a savings of up to $0.90 on every $1.00 spent to operate a beacon.
Of course, if total product replacement throughout the wind farm is just not an option, then consideration should be given to upgrading damaged product or product past its design life. The question that comes up most often with this scenario is if the older product work, and be visually compatible, with the new LED technology. The answer to this question should be yes. The replacement LED product manufacturer should be able to adjust the newer LED beacon technology to be visually compatible with the currently installed product. When questioned, the FAA had no issues with this scenario as long as the new LED product had this capability. This is something you should confirm with the product manufacturer before purchasing.
Whether you choose complete product replacement during your next fiscal year budget, or partial replacement over a period of time, the choice to upgrade to LED technology will be beneficial to your project.
By: TWR Lighting