Australia’s Longest Solar Pathway Lights - Mount Gambier Rail Trail
City of Mount Gambier
The Boandik People
The City of Mount Gambier sought a sustainable solar pathway lighting solution to make the city’s 8.6km rail trail a safer route for local families, students, and the half a million annual tourists that visit each year. Co-funded by South Australia’s Local Government Infrastructure Partnership Program, $800,000 was granted for the project, and a formal tender process was undertaken. Leadsun solar pathway lights were selected as the best design, supply, and installation fit for our complete end-to-end solution. The project was of national significance as Australia’s longest solar lit pathway, comparable to Leadsun’s previous installations at Blue Lake and Wollondilly River.
From Trash to Treasure with Solar Pathway Lights
Once an abandoned “eyesore and bone of contention”, the Mount Gambier Rail Trail which runs through the CBD is now the town’s “most well-used piece of infrastructure”, and a prominent feature
linking tourist attractions and community facilities – including the Engelbrecht Cave, Cave Garden/Thugi and the Umpherston Sinkhole. In 2013, the City of Mount Gambier committed to transforming the dilapidated rail line into a multi-use trail. Then in 2018, the council sought solar pathway lighting to “encourage further use of the path for health and wellbeing of the community and to reduce the use of vehicles within the city”.
Prior preparation prevails
At a length of 8.6km, Mount Gambier’s sizeable rail trail presented various challenges including tree shading, soil contamination, unnatural ground conditions, and vulnerable wildlife. Fortunately, through Leadsun’s preliminary day and night-time surveying of the trail, these obstacles were identified ahead of time and Leadsun was able to account for them in the solar lighting design. With that being said, the installation team was put to the test with a short timeframe in which the project was to be completed.
A straightforward solar lighting solution
Despite the challenges, Leadsun was able to provide the City of Mount Gambier with an uncomplicated solar pathway light design, supply and installation. 160 SMART solar lights were installed evenly spaced out, with wildlife-friendly 3000K colour temperature LEDs programmed to emit 100% illumination for 5 hours after dusk, then dim to 20% until dawn, and equipped with PIR motion sensors to fully illuminate upon motion detection. To illuminate the shaded areas of the trail, Leadsun employed a remote energy storage system (RESS); this involved the placement of the solar engine remote from the light, positioned where it could generate energy. The low-voltage cable connecting the two only required shallow trenching, and each solar lighting system was installed using EZYTilt lowerable poles and EZYFoot concrete-less footings. Additionally, each system was equipped with EDGE wireless monitoring and control for effortless asset tracking and solar lighting management over the internet.
The Leadsun difference
Thanks to Leadsun’s efficient installation method, this extensive solar lighting project was completed ahead of time, allowing tourists and residents to enjoy the safety and extended functionality of the rail trail ahead of the summer holidays.
Delighted Mount Gambier running coach, Adam Baker, was pleased to “see so many people out and about at night-time, riding bikes through [the town] and [strolling] families out pushing prams [with] kids on scooters”. Especially appreciative were TAFE and University of South Australia (Uni SA) students, with Uni SA regional manager Ian McKay declaring the patway “will provide a safe corridor for their commute from home to their studies – it’s a great move forward and it probably will encourage more students from both campuses to cycle”.
The project kickstarted Leadsun & SolarBuddy’s Gift of Light 1-for-1 donations and educational workshop. Leadsun matched the number of solar lights installed on the trail, donating 160 JuniorBuddy lights to Papuan youth living in extreme energy poverty. Leadsun also facilitated a JuniorBuddy light build session with the City of Mount Gambier council officers.
Solar Lighting Products Used
AS/NZS 1158.3.1 PP4
Acknowledgement of Country
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which this project was undertaken, the Boandik People. We recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.