City officials in Knoxville, Tennessee, are pleased with the performance of LED streetlights used in their pilot project, especially during the extremely cold weather faced by the region recently.
Knoxville launched a pilot involving 12 LED streetlights three months ago as a joint project of the city, the Knoxville Utility Board (KUB), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). Officials have been measuring light output and power usage to evaluate the viability of LED streetlights. The lights being tested were provided by manufacturer BetaLED.
While the performance of the lights during the cold weather pleased officials, they are eager to assess the LED streetlights’ performance during summer’s high temperatures. The pilot, which used KUB and City of Knoxville funds, is scheduled to run for a year, during which time light output and power usage data will be gathered and analyzed.
If expected energy efficiency results are achieved, Knoxville anticipates seeing up to 60% reduction in electricity consumption by streetlights. Typically, streetlight electricity costs and light maintenance costs combine to form one of the largest expenses of a municipal electricity budgets. Knoxville currently spends $2.8 million annually on nearly 30,000 streetlights.
Gabriel Bolas, Manager of Engineering Systems at the Knoxville Utility Board, looks forward to the day when all of the city streetlights are replaces with LEDs. “Our current streetlights need to be replaced every two or three years, and if the expected life of the LEDs is accurate, we will be able to free up city crews to work on things other than streetlight bulb replacement. With LEDs we anticipate exceptionally high savings in just the maintenance department.”
Although the rate structure for LED streetlights has not yet been determined, the KUB and TVA are working together to set the billing rate for LED streetlights.
The KUB is also working on developing a five year plan to replace all existing streetlights in the City of Knoxville. The implementation will involve the conversion of nearly 30,000 streetlights over multiple phases.