Solar street light initiative – Update

Posted: December 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

The quotes are coming in for solar street light units.

Whoa, you say! Isn’t Keene already planning a retrofit of the city’s 1,155 lights with LED fixtures? Yes, that’s true. The public works department announced in September an experimental display of 25 LED fixtures of different designs on a stretch of Marlboro Street to gauge community reaction to the wholesale conversion from HPS to LED. The total cost for the demonstration light fixtures is $6,981 with installation – $280 each.

The plan is to retrofit all city streetlights, as well as some on access roads, parking lots and parks. Today the city spends $165,000 annually on streetlight electricity and maintenance This doesn’t include lights in the downtown area, which are billed separately. The city would apply for the $50,000 LED streetlight conversion grant from our electrical utility, Eversource, to supplement the estimated $270,00-$350,00 cost of converting 1,155 streetlights.

In the Marlboro Street retrofit example Keene would reduce the total KWh from 13,839 KWh per year to 6,496 KWh per year, a 53% KWh reduction. Under the Eversource retrofit program the city would own the streetlights and be responsible for maintenance and replacement costs. Suppliers estimate that the average life of an LED retrofit is 20 years. A preliminary estimate of the 20 year cumulative savings of retrofitting the City’s inventory of HPS lamps to LED is about $1,500,000 and a payback of 3 to 4 years.

But, the city would still be buying electricity generated by fossil fuels, and take on the maintenance cost which is covered in the current monthly rental agreement.

As I was saying, the quotes are coming in for solar street light units.

The figures for the LED fossil fuel lights come in at between $230 – $350 each, plus the cost of electricity. The estimates I have gotten so far from solar streetlight suppliers for comparable wattage systems is $250, with no ongoing electricity costs. And, they send their own technician to install them.

It shouldn’t go unsaid that city staff have shown an incredible amount of foresight in their plan. I commend them because taking steps to decrease our carbon footprint and budget is the right thing to do.

I’m saying, let’s take an extra step. Let’s add a group of solar powered lights to the experiment before we retrofit the entire city.




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