September 4, 2004  -  

Carmanah Technologies has developed the world’s first marine light with Global Positioning System technology. GPS is built into the company’s 700 Series lights, which have a three-mile range. The solar-powered, light-emitting diode models are already in use by navies and coast guards all over the world. The new series links with GPS signals to allow any number of units anywhere on the globe to flash in perfect unison. Synchronized lights are easier for ships and other craft to follow amid the background lighting of port entrances, busy channels and navigational hazards. Art Aylesworth, Carmanah’s chief executive, calls the new 701-GPS and 702-GPS lights one of the company’s most significant technological innovations to date. “Building GPS into our systems enhances the potential in our core marine market,” he said. Carmanah is riding the crest of a wave in alternative energy. Its core products in the marine and aviation sectors are the darlings of the U.S. military, which uses the lights extensively in Irag and the Middle East, and the U.S. Coast Guard. The lights have no external wiring or power source, only a solar-fed battery that is replaced every five to eight years. The company claims the lights pay for themselves within a year because there is virtually no installation or maintenance costs. Earlier this month, the company was mentioned in the New York Times as one of the world’s “few companies that are successfully occupying a niche in the area (of commercially viable solar power).” Carmanah shares slipped five cents Friday to $2.35 on the TSX Venture Exchange.