Watsonville, California, has completed the first phase of the city’s plan to deploy LED streetlights.
Watsonville installed 400 LED streetlights two weeks ago using funds from the the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program. Watsonville worked with Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), which has a unique turnkey program for LED streetlights. Cities that participate in the PG&E turnkey program receive a number of benefits. Municipalities receive rebates for purchasing PG&E-approved LED streetlights and electricity rate reductions. PG&E also installs the LED streetlights for turnkey program participants.
Watsonville city officials hope to install an additional 1,000 LED streetlights if a loan from the California Energy Commission (CEC) is approved. According to Robert Ketley, senior utilities manager for the city of Watsonville, the savings from the revised rate tariff alone would allow repayment of the loan. In addition to the energy cost savings, Ketley anticipates maintenance cost savings of up to 50%, estimated to be about $50,000 annually.
Should Watsonville receive the $800,000 loan from the CEC, the city will be able to replace all standard streetlights with LED streetlights. Only antique, post-style lights would not be replaced with LED luminaires. According to Ketley, “The price of these lights is still just too high to make replacement cost effective.”