An update from Green Frog Systems Founder & CEO David Wilson following his recent trip to the United Kingdom. The trip focused on educating the market on how our solar lighting solutions can perform in the UK – and other parts of the world where solar has its limitations.
Being of English heritage (both my parents are English) where they immigrated in the early 70’s I have always wanted to visit the UK. Before I started Green Frog Systems surprisingly it never brought me to Europe in my roles in manufacturing, Software, hardware design and defence systems. I must thank Tim from Acrospire who I met in the USA of all places – Specifically LIGHTFAIR 2017 in Chicago where we had a stand 2 years ago. Tim could see the signs before anyone else, he stated that “the UK needs Solar lights and we need a quality manufacturer that knows what they are doing. You can’t pull the wool over our eyes here in the UK!” he stated.
Since then Tim has sold a crazy amount of our solar street lights into the UK, especially our Guardian and Stealth range. In our quest to deliver clients solar lights that are ultra-reliable and powerful, we have been busy in Australia over the last 2 years designing a new world class modular, scalable and ultra-modern lighting technology called the Aspire. I came over to the UK last week to train Tim’s teams on this new technology and to understand the limitations of selling solar lights in the UK.
It was a great time to visit – I remember a meeting with 12 people in the room, at the time Australia were playing England in the Cricket Semi Final. Being used to the English humour and banter at home I knew what I was walking into, the regular jibes during the meeting “when we got another Aussie out” was fun, and being a true professional I brushed it off and kept presenting, shooting back an optimistic comment “wait till we are bowling mate”. After holding the groups attention through the lunch break, one of the staff members stood up, arms raised and stated loudly “It’s over”. I thought he was joking, until another comment came my way; “I hope your lights perform better than the Australian Cricket team”.
Solar lighting is growing at an unprecedented rate here in the UK, and Tim, his team and our clients gave us a clear message to take back and think about. It was the same message I hear in every continent I visit, and we have been hearing it for the 7+ years we have been doing this: “We have tried solar lighting before, it failed and now I feel that the technology can’t deliver the promises outlined on the glossy brochures.” The comment made to me earlier came back to me again…
“I hope your lights perform better than the Australian Cricket team”
I am here to tell you they can, but with limitations, and it requires using our “less is more” mindset at Green Frog Systems. Our systems utilise smart, advanced LED and optics that use less power than others on the market, coupled with bigger solar panels and bigger battery storage – allowing you to use the solar power you can generate more efficiently, when you most need it. There is no denying the sunlight limitations and sunlight yield math isn’t ideal here in the UK – you have solar energy here that is under-performing, it’s all over the news, your summer can deliver sun, rain, heavy cloud and hail all in one day.
There is hope though, the advanced SAM (Solar Activity Monitoring) system we have designed measures the lights’ energy yield and compensates in a cloud secure environment that you can view, monitor and change at any time on secure Australian servers. This combined with our new scalable solar panel and battery storage system means that we can use Solar lights in the UK for pathways and security illumination that are far more reliable than any other on the market.
Green Frog Systems is one of the only western owned designers and manufacturers in the world – our reputation is the most important, and we say NO before we say YES. Solar won’t work in all applications, but it can certainly work for you where you have limited, unreliable power, where it’s too costly, difficult, or you simply need a fast lighting solution – Green Frog Systems has your back in the UK through Acrospire.
Oh, and by the way, just wait till the ashes!
CEO and founder of Green Frog Systems