Pacific Gas and Electric Company has started upgrading 7,677 streetlights in Clovis to LED bulbs, which will improve safety and save the city an estimated $48,000 per year.
The project started on June 27.
Denny Boyles, PG&E spokesman for Fresno, said in the 2015-2017 General Rate Case, PG&E was granted the opportunity to convert its company-owned streetlights from traditional high pressure sodium vapor (HPSV) fixtures to energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures.
“The program, which eventually will convert 160,000 streetlights, started in 2015 in Contra Costa County,” Boyles said. “In 2015, we installed 25,000 lights in 20 communities. Plans for 2016 include installing 60,000 lights in 70 communities.”
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Boyles said this is an opt-in program, meaning communities can decide if they want to participate. The program only covers replacement of PG&E-owned streetlights.
“In some communities, the streetlights are owned by the cities,” Boyles said. “However, PG&E works hard to help all customers save money and energy, and that includes encouraging customers of all types to convert to more energy efficient forms of lighting.”
Boyles listed reasons the LED lights are good for the environment as well as the community.
“LED streetlights use 50 to 75 percent less energy than HPSV fixtures, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and require substantially less maintenance,” Boyles said. “New LED streetlights provide a more natural-looking light, which will last up to four times longer than HPSV fixtures. Unlike HPSV fixtures, which send light out in all directions, the optical technology of LED luminaires distributes light only where it is needed in a nearly rectangular pattern on the street and sidewalk. This approach results in greater visibility for pedestrians and drivers alike while reducing light pollution.”
Boyles said there are many reasons why LED lighting is superior over traditional lighting, the main one is because the technology used in LED lighting is quickly advancing.
“LED lighting is a rapidly evolving technology that uses semiconductors to convert electricity into visible light, which offers so many advantages over traditional light sources,” Boyles said. “LEDs also differ from other light sources in that they emit light in a specific direction, instead of in all directions, making them not only efficient, but also well suited for downlighting applications.”
Boyles added that LEDs do not contain mercury and in many cases steps are being taken to replace lead-containing solders (used mainly to fix LEDs to circuit boards) with lead-free material, in line with European directives.