Solar Airfield Lighting System – Case Study

Solar Airfield Lighting System – Case Study

Solar Airfield Lighting System – Case Study

Solar Airfield Lighting System – Case Study

By:Avlite Systems | June 20, 2016
Application: Air field lighting (runway taxiway and IWI) for non-certified aerodrome
Location: Exmouth, Western Australia
Site: Exmouth Aerodrome
Owners: Shire of Exmouth
Date: March 2013

Avlite’s automated solar runway lighting solution significantly reduces operation costs, enhances airport efficiency and improves safety.


Exmouth Aerodrome is home to small (but expanding) general aviation commercial operators, micro-lights and a Bristow Helicopter maintenance and operations facility. It is located 13 km from Exmouth town site and is currently an aircraft landing area (ALA).

The aerodrome plays a role in the tourism sector and local primary industry, as the location of activities such as scenic flights over the Ningaloo Coast, whale watching flights and micro-light flights and training. It is also the location from where the off-shore emergency aerial response is coordinated.

The requirement

After an immediate catastrophic failure of the 20+ year old lighting system which was deemed at assessment to be irreparable, an alternative lighting system for the runway, taxiway and illuminated wind indicator (IWI) at Exmouth Aerodrome was required.

Aerodrome operators requested the replacement lighting system be one that didn’t require activation or operation by standby personnel. Learmonth Airport – the regular public transport (RPT) airport for Exmouth – was not seen as a viable alternative for many of the Exmouth Aerodrome operators and general aviation visitors due to approval restrictions and night-time operational curfews imposed by the Department of Defence.

A review of available products saw solar LED lighting being the best value for money when compared with traditional mains powered runway lighting.The solar lighting was also seen as providing further bene t as an emergency back- up should a mains-powered lighting system be required at a later date.

The total airfield lighting solution

Given that the runway is intended for use at night, the aerodrome required white, fixed, omnidirectional runway edge lights, red/green threshold lights, and green omnidirectional runway end lights.The entire system is enabled for dusk-till-dawn operation — meaning, the lights automatically activate approximately 15 minutes prior to last light and deactivate around 15 minutes after first light — increasing airport efficiency and improving safety particularly in the event of an emergency situation or unscheduled landing.

Avlite’s AV-70-HI light fixture was chosen for runway edge, runway end and threshold lighting, along with blue taxiway lighting intended for the airport’s southern taxiway. This particular model — the high-intensity version of the popular AV-70 — is ideal for use in high sunlight areas that receive a minimum of 3.5 hours of sunlight per day.

A rugged and robust self-contained fixture, the AV-70-HI houses two high-performance solar modules mounted within the lens, maximising solar collection and providing reliable operation in a range of environmental conditions. It is the preferred choice of airport operators for solar powered runway and taxiway lighting throughout Australia.

Avlite’s illuminated wind indicator (IWI) AV-09-4WL lighting kit, with an external sun-switch for automatic night activation, was also selected to be retrofitted to the existing windsock and pole assembly – enabling further cost savings for Exmouth Shire.

The installation

The aerodrome’s heliport personnel assisted in the assembly of the lights whilst local contractors assisted in surveying the runway and taxiway for the 90m set-out of the lights, clearing areas for the new signal circle and Illuminated Wind Indicator (IWI) and installing the rods into the hard pindan earth to secure Avlite’s rubber mounting tiles into position.

The lights were mounted on the rubber mounting tiles(in favour of traditional concrete pads) as they were a much more economical alternative, saving Exmouth Shire over 40% on installation costs alone. In fact, the entire air eld lighting solution was around a third of the cost of traditional hard-wired systems.

Exmouth Aerodrome was one of the joint winners of the 2013 Australian Airports Association Industry Award ‘Non-certified Aerodrome of the Year’ for its Solar Runway Lighting Project

Exmouth Aerodrome predominantly services general aviation aircraft (commercial, sightseeing and recreational), micro-lights (sightseeing and recreational) and helicopter maintenance bases. The aerodrome is classified an Aeroplane Landing Area (ALA).

There are three distinct operational areas at the Aerodrome – General Aviation, Helicopters, and Commercial.There is 1 main runway at Exmouth Aerodrome (Runway 02/20) and is a 1260m long and 30m wide unsealed gravel strip with a 211m central sealed section.

Avlite Difference

All Avlite System Products are manufactured to exacting standards under strict quality control procedures. Avlite's commitment to reasearch and development, investing in modern equipment and advanced manufacturing procedures has made us an industry leader in solar aviation lighting. By choosing Avlite Systems you can rest assured you have chosen the very best.

Experienced & Trained Personnel

Avlite have world class application specialists in Aviation lighting products and solutions designed specifically for defense, government, civil and humanitarian aid operations. This team includes leading sales support, quality control plus in-house engineers who design and develop products to FAA, ICAO and military standards.

Worldwide Distribution team

Avlite are represented worldwide by three regional offices and a network of valued distributors to offer support when needed.

Agile Manufacturing

Avlite manufacturing capabilities include in-house Surface Mount Technology electronics and robotic assembly lines, rotational and injection moulding. The advantages include strict quality control and an ability to customise products. This customisation includes graphics, operational controls and monitoring options delivered via a purpose-built manufacturing plant.

Product Innovation

Avlite’s world leading research and development team is continuously developing innovative new solutions to their customer’s real-world challenges. This innovation is a result of customer requirements to maximise efficiency and safety whilst minimising cost.

Precision construction

Avlite manufactures solutions to exacting standards and strict guidelines to ensure they perform reliably in the most remote and toughest environments. All from a manufacturer that is ISO9001:2008 certified.

Rapid Turnaround

Avlite’s in-house manufacturing capabilities offer an advantage to customers requiring solutions quickly. By completely owning the production cycle Avlite are able to meet fast delivery requirements.

What Our Client's Say

“It is a great benefit to our community to have this [Avlite’s helipad lighting system] installed and commissioned at CareFlight’s Toowoomba base. Avlite’s particular type of lighting lends itself to a lot of applications given that it’s easy to install, doesn’t require electricity as its solar powered and can be remotely controlled. It’s a fabulous technology, obviously a world leading technology and from my point of view, it’s great to see an Australian Manufacturing success story.“

-Cr Mike Williams

“For an aerodrome operator to provide equivalent night-use runway standards for the RFDS and other fixed-base users at around one-third of the cost of a traditional mains-powered runway and taxiway lighting system, there has to be greater recognised merit for this (solar-powered) alternative especially in a location like ours where it is sunny most days of the year.”

-Jenny Kox

“Our industry appreciates the on-going support of this Australian owned and operated company whose solar powered airfield and helipad lighting systems assist in the improvement of safety for both fixed and rotary wing aeromedical flight crews and passengers around the country.”

-Graeme Field

“As the busiest Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) based in the State [of Queensland], the benefits [of Avlite’s helipad lighting] are many. Not only does it [the system] enhance the safety of our operations, it also helps us to continue to improve our level of service delivery to the community and to our customers.“

-Ashley van de Velde

“These lights [AV-70s] have been a great asset to many outback communities that previously we were not able to access 24/7.”

-Alan Benn

“Just to let you know the new airport floodlight has now been installed for several weeks and the medical staff and Power and Water staff [who look after the airport] agree it has made things much easier and safer for night-time medivacs. Your assistance with enabling us to have this basic but important infrastructure is much appreciated.”

-Stephanie Fielder

“Since starting our distributorship with Avlite, we have gone from strength to strength with the great range of solar products and of course the fantastic support of the Avlite staff. It’s been a good year for us. May it continue.”

-Eddie Lacina

“Re: Avlite AV70 taxiway lights, are working really well. Thank you for your assistance in getting our ramp up and running.”

-Capt. US Air Force

“[In reference to more than 2,000 AV70 taxiway lights installed] Those Taxiway lights work great, we are not having any problems with those AV70’s. Thanks a lot.”


“The lights are installed and are operating beautifully.”

-Strathcona Airport

“[In reference to Avlite radio controlled obstruction lighting] They are really neat to watch come on, they come on instantly and are a great addition to our pilot training school. The lights are currently set on medium intensity as high intensity is very bright.”

-Airport Stafft

“We did install all of the lights. We even used a few red lights as obstruction markers on top of 68 meter power line towers. I finally found a high quality camera and took some photos. I will send them to you as soon as I can download them. We submitted some additional light orders to our contracting office, so you can expect to receive a bit solicitation from them soon. The lights are working great and we appreciate the support.”


“[In reference to a visit to the Avlite production facilities] On arrival at Avlite I was greeted by sales manager Sharon Bedson, and was treated like a VIP. I was given a tour of the production line and had a close look, and an in-depth explanation of all the components of the Avlite system. The staff were fantastic and very helpful. It was truly fascinating and I now have a good story to tell Wanarn community members on my return. I was also shown the vast range of solar system lights and other products that they make.
I have recommended Avlite solar lighting systems to many local communities and Avlite will be my first stop shop if the community needs anything regarding solar power in the future. Well done, and thank you Avlite.”

-Patricia Granger