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Innovation & Job News

Local innovation, self-sustaining ePole, uses wind and solar, impresses Queen

When the Village of Downers Grove, near Chicago, sought a cost estimate for 25 lampposts for the new subdivision of Prentiss Creek, they were quoted a price around $3 million. Instead of going ahead with it, they found an innovative, environmentally friendly solution from North York company Efston Science -- self-powering hybrid solar-and-wind-fueled streetlights that did not require digging trenches to bury power lines and would cost nothing to operate once they were installed. As a bonus, they would lower the carbon footprint of the village -- and all for a comparatively low cost of $282,500.

The ePole was developed by Efston Science a year ago, according to company owner Nick Efston, and is manufactured in the GTA in partnership with a pole maker in Burlington and a wind turbine company in Mississauga. The poles use a small wind turbine and a small solar panel in conjunction, and can store electricity for days at a time. According to Efsotn, the ePole business supports roughly a dozen jobs in the area.

Efston says that the Chicago-area project was the first major contract for the company -- and now that there's a precedent, he expects orders to start picking up. "We're now being spec-ed into a lot of projects. People are more responsive now that there's a working example to look at," he says. Among those impressed, reportedly, is the Queen, who viewed a pilot installation ePole at Woodbine racetrack on her recent visit.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Nick Efston, owner, Efston Science

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