The Obama Administration’s economic stimulus program has quickly accelerated municipalities’ interest in LED streetlights. Preliminary data aggregated from proposed and funded programs has established a wide cost-per-light range for LED streetlight programs.
Over 30 cities requested Community Block Grant Development funds, and many have already been informed that they have been awarded grants.
The average cost per streetlight using data from 15 of these municipalities was $1,174, based on installation of 5,435 lights and total spending of $6.4 million.
Program sizes ranged from $125,000 to $970,000.
Almost all of these programs have been characterized as “shovel ready” initiatives that could be launched immediately.
The least expensive program was a 1,300 light installation planning to spend $501 for each light. The most expensive was a 250 light installation costing $3,760 per light.
There are a variety of reasons for the dramatic range in costs. Some of the programs represent “all-in” estimates, which involve using third parties for installation combined with removal and disposal of legacy lights. Other cities are able to leverage their own public works departments to reduce installation costs. Cities focused on replacing or retrofitting historic, decorative lighting were forced to budget for much higher product and installation costs.
This is the first in a series of articles that will focus on the economic and business dimensions of LED streetlight programs accelerated by the US economic stimulus package.