Relighting of Avery Point Lighthouse Makes History with Carmanah Technologies' LED Beacon

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Photo 1
Avery Point Lighthouse was relit
as a private aid to navigation
on October 15, 2006. Photo by Ron Foster

The ornate masonry light tower at Avery Point in Groton, Connecticut is no longer a darkened beacon standing sentinel at the edge of the University of Connecticut's beautiful Avery Point campus.

With its flashing green light shining forth every 4 seconds once again over Long Island Sound, the 62 year-old lighthouse will now serve mariners as a private aid to navigation (newly assigned U.S. Coast Guard Light List number 21743.00).

In addition to its renewed service as an aid to navigation, the lighthouse and its state-of-the-art optic will also beckon the public to come near and learn more about America's lighthouse past, present and future, thanks in part to a generous donation by Carmanah Technologies of British Columbia, Canada.

Photo 2
(L to R) Fran Mainella, director of NPS, Ken "Mr. Lighthouse" Black and Lexis Foster were presented the honor of pressing the ceremonial button to relight the lighthouse. Photo by Ron Foster

On October 15, 2006, the Avery Point Lighthouse Society, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, and the University of Connecticut hosted a glorious relighting ceremony for the Avery Point Lighthouse, and formally dedicated the light tower to all lightkeepers and lighthouses in the United States. The ceremony, which was attended by a host of dignitaries, including Fran Mainella, director of the National Park Service and Connecticut's Congressman Rob Simmons, culminated a six-year, $500,000 restoration of the Avery Point Lighthouse - an admirable feat accomplished by the dedicated volunteers of the Avery Point Lighthouse Society.

Photo 3
A close-up view of the lantern showing the Carmanah LED beacon shining bright by land and sea. Photo by Ron Foster

As the afternoon sun began its descent, guest speakers touched on the importance of saving a Connecticut historic site, as well as the major effort of restoring the lighthouse, which was once on the verge of extinction. But as dusk melted into nightfall the 2,000-plus people in attendance began gearing up for the moment everyone came to see - the official relighting of Avery Point Lighthouse. Lead by master of ceremonies Timothy Harrison, president of the American Lighthouse Foundation, the crowd joined in unison with him, counting down to the exact moment when Avery Point's light would glimmer once more from atop the 55-foot sentinel.

At that precise moment, you might say that Carmanah Technologies was ushered into a very "bright" role during the climax of the ceremony as the countdown chant reached "one." When it was time to illuminate the light, honored participants Kenneth Black, Fran Mainella and Lexis Foster - representing the past, present and future of lighthouses respectively, pressed a ceremonial button / plunger symbolizing the moment the beacon was energized.

Thanks to the donation of a 702 Series LED beacon, Carmanah Technologies allowed those in attendance at the Avery Point relighting ceremony to witness an exciting new chapter in lighthouse history unfold right before their eyes as the first green beams of light pierced the dark skies over Long Island Sound at 7:00 pm.

Photo 4
The spacious lantern with its large
windows enables the self-contained Carmanah LED 702-Series beacon to
recharge inside the lighthouse. Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.

With the installation of the self-contained Carmanah LED beacon, Avery Point became the first lighthouse in the United States - and possibly the world, to successfully house this type of cutting-edge technology inside the lantern of a lighthouse. The Carmanah 702-Series LED beacon, which contains the optic, solar panels and batteries all within one self-contained unit, requires sufficient sunlight to recharge the batteries that store the solar energy to operate the optic.

Photo 5
(L to R) Avery Point Light Society
co-chairmen Ron Foster and Jim Streeter (along with Joe Foster) installed the Carmanah LED beacon for test purposes on June 10, 2006. Photo by Ann-Marie Trapani

Due to the unique architectural design of Avery Point's lantern, which includes an unusual amount of space height-wise, as well as an array of tall windows that comprise the lantern, the self-contained LED beacon has successfully been able to retain a full charge for reliable and efficient operation throughout a test period that commenced in June 2006.

Another important aspect of Carmanah's donation worth noting is how 21st century lighting technology is able to blend seamlessly within an impeccably restored historic structure like Avery Point Lighthouse. The beauty of the 702-Series Carmanah beacon is that with all of its operating components self-contained, it enabled the Avery Point Lighthouse Society to avoid having to mount exterior solar panels on the face of the granite structure, while also eliminating the need to create a battery storage area within the structure's interior.

Photo 6 Photo 7
The Carmanah LED beacon
could be seen hanging from the cupola of Avery Point's lantern the day of the relighting ceremony. Photo by Ron Foster
A close-up view of the Carmanah LED 702-Series beacon "ready for duty" inside Avery Point Lighthouse. Photo by Bob Trapani, Jr.

Both from an historical integrity perspective, as well as the safety and environmental aspects, Carmanah's donation presented a rare opportunity for aesthetics, safety and operational efficiency at a lighthouse to come together in a transparent partnership that has no equal throughout the United States. To learn more about Carmanah Technologies, visit