The Blue Lake Solar Pedestrian Lighting project in Mount Gambier involved installing 90 solar powered lights along the footpath around the Blue Lake, and in adjacent car parks. In addition, 12 mains powered lights were installed in the vicinity of the Blue Lake Welcome Centre (café). The primary purpose of the lights is to enable the community to use the popular site in the evenings and early mornings, particularly in the cooler months of the year when the days are much shorter. Solar lights were selected due to their minimal environmental impact, as well as mains power not being readily available around the majority of the Blue Lake.
This is a nationally significant project located around a nationally significant site. It is one of the largest installations of recreational solar lights in the country.
Council released an open tender calling for companies to supply and install solar lighting along the footpath around the Blue Lake. A Council assessment panel assessed the applications and made a recommendation to Council. Council awarded the tender according to the recommendation to Leadsun. A local contractor then organised the physical installation of the system.
Lighting outputs and times year round are;
- Full brightness from dusk for 2 hours.
- 20% brightness for a further 3 hours.
- All lights switch off at 11pm (in summer this will cut the above times short, as dusk occurs much later in the day).
- Lights switch on again at 5am and run on full brightness until dawn.
The Blue Lake is a hugely popular site in Mount Gambier and is used by many community members. The primary purpose of the lights is to enable the community to use the popular site in the evenings and early mornings, particularly in the cooler months of the year when the days are significantly shorter. Utilising light from the sun to power the lights will lead to financial savings to Council compared to mains powered lights. There is also a significant saving in not having to run mains electricity cables right around the lake. The total cost of the project was $236,690 ex GST and this was a fully Council funded project.
One of the lessons learnt during this project is that it is ideal to test various solar lights in a location for a year to assess how they perform in that location as this can inform the decision process. Due to budget constraints it was not possible in this instance, so information from other locations was drawn upon.