Installed in some 110 markets worldwide, Carmanah Technologies’ self-contained solar LED solutions are marking radio towers and mines; roads and school crosswalks; airport runways; and harbours and large marine structures such as wind farms, bridges, and oil and gas rigs, just to name a few. Carmanah also has a global solar LED illumination division, and provides off-grid and on-grid solar power solutions within North America. Their many international customers include the US Coast Guard, NASA, military organizations, municipalities and commercial organizations.
In addition to reduced carbon emissions, Carmanah’s solutions offer advantages over conventional lighting systems that are especially attractive to emerging markets. These include significant cost savings and a reliable, off-grid power supply that can be used during brownouts and blackouts, or in remote locations without traditional power infrastructure.
“As a provider of LED infrastructure solutions, we sell to a variety of markets,” says John Simmons, CEO of Carmanah. “But it’s a very specialized, niche product, so the company began exporting early on, predominantly to the U.S. and increasingly to many other markets.”
While working around the world has brightened Carmanah’s horizons, it has also brought challenges. “Emerging markets often have difficulty in terms of financing, and we must be prudent about getting paid when selling into any market,” Simmons says.
How EDC Helped
When Carmanah’s local distributor in Chile won a tender for the federal Ministerio de Obras Públicas (Ministry of Public Works), there was a requirement to ship the product almost immediately.
“When there’s a very fast shipping requirement, it doesn’t leave sufficient time to organize conventional methods of payment, such as irrevocable letters of credit or getting upfront deposits to support the manufacturing,” says Simmons.
Luckily, Aaron Lockwood, a sales manager for Carmanah, found a solution. He sent an email to his colleagues that read in part: I just watched an EDC webinar on their credit insurance for small projects. Program is called Trade Protect. Apply online, get a quote, and pay with credit card in 10 minutes.
“After a short time we had an approval, allowing us to meet the tender requirements,” says Simmons.
Using Trade Protect for the Chilean project enabled Carmanah to increase sales by around US200,000, gain a new customer, and maintain high tech manufacturing jobs in Canada.
Simmons confirms there is more growth for Carmanah in the future. “We will definitely be using Trade Protect to help us achieve that.”