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Cost comparison case: Solar Street Lighting vs traditional street lights


Solar Street Lighting and Renewable energy have grown throughout the years. It is not just something for today. With the United States power electrical grid being 100 plus years old, renewable energy is the future. There are many different types of renewable energy. Solar photo-voltaic array units and wind turbines seem to be the most common community scale renewable energy systems. There are new solar and wind farms popping up in more and more places each day.


Figure 1: Solar Street Lights produced by New York based company EnGoPlanet

During the internship at Sandia, the Indian Energy interns attended many field visits to various tribal reservations. On these field visits, the interns were able to experience first-hand some amazing renewable energy plans and projects which have now become a reality. With each site visit, the success of tribal projects is seen where hard work and persistence pays off. It brings joy to see these tribes making their dreams a reality. It is heartwarming to hear the stories of why the tribe chose to bring renewable projects to their people. It is also very informative because the tribal hosts encourage as many questions as can be asked. The field visits are what make ideas possible and to dream of what could be pursued. Research is a big part making these goals and dreams a reality. Without the field visits and knowledge shared by the tribal staff and leaders, a relevant research topic would have been difficult to focus on.

Returning for a second summer as an intern at Sandia National Laboratories’ Indian Energy program, several research topics were considered. Ultimately, this research paper’s focus is to incorporate renewable energy specifically to take care of Mother Nature as well as the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indian people.

There have been many deaths on North Dakota Highway 281, which it is the main road of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa reservation. The highway has a high volume of traffic every day, in addition to many people who frequently walk this road. There is no walking or bike path along the road; most people tend to walk the shoulders of the road. This research paper is a way to help protect these pedestrians with an idea of lighting the highway from the west end of Belcourt to one of are housing developments that is 5.34 miles to the west of town. This research paper will look at the various types of street lighting methods and provide recommendations for a suitable and economical project.


1. Introduction The Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians reside in the lands of the Turtle Mountains in North Dakota. The reservation is 6 miles North to South and 12 miles East to West (72 square miles). The reservation is just 10 miles south of the Canadian border. Belcourt, North Dakota is the only town inside the reservation’ boundaries. The federally recognized tribe has just over 30,000 enrolled members. The Reservation is isolated and is about 120 miles from the nearest urban community. According to the 2000 census, there are about 5,800 members living on the reservation and another 2500 live just off the reservation on trust lands. Today, the reservation is still densely populated with about 100 people per square mile.

There is one main highway that runs through the reservation, this is North Dakota Highway 281. It is very busy road where many accidents have occurred and mostly in the evening when it is dark as there are no street lights. There have been many deaths on this road, cars hitting cars and cars hitting pedestrians. The accidents are mainly due to how dark it is along the highway. The most accidents occur between the west end of Belcourt to about a mile past the Sky Dancer Casino and Resort (tribal casino), and this is roughly a 5.5-mile stretch. Any time there is an accident on this road, it brings great tragedy to the community - a feeling known all too well. Specifically, in 2011, a friend was walking and was killed about a quarter of a mile past the casino.