The city of Santa Cruz, California, recently completed the first of what it hopes will be a series of LED streetlight installations. The LED streetlights were deployed after city officials conducted research, solicited recommendations and performed photometric testing of existing fixtures. Funded by a $113,000 grant from the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, the project involved the purchase and installation of 125 LED streetlight fixtures manufactured by BetaLED, of Racine, Wisconsin.
Results of photometric testing surprised some city officials. Tests showed that the target streets, all predominantly arterial roadways, needed to have upgraded illumination. Existing 200 watt and 100 watt high pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights were replaced with 250 watt and 150 watt equivalent LED fixtures. The BetaLED fixtures were purchased and installed through the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) turn-key program, which also includes a revised rate tariff to reflect the reduced energy consumption of LED streetlights. “The entire project took about three months, start to finish, and we were very satisfied with the outcome. We continue to look at parts of Santa Cruz where additional installations can occur,” said Richard Smith, traffic supervisor for the city of Santa Cruz.
As in most municipalities, availability of funding continues to be the biggest barrier to large scale retrofit or replacement projects. The city of Santa Cruz is currently trying to secure a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) by July 2011. The funds from the new grant would be used to install LED streetlight fixtures in underprivileged neighborhoods. Additional funds, of as much as $200,000, may also be available for further installations. “Our goal is to replace about 25% of our city-owned streetlight inventory with LED fixtures,” said Smith. The city currently owns and maintains about 1,700 streetlights.