Outdoor Lighting: Osram LEDs light Beijing streets, US cities tap EECBGs

March 16, 2011
The Chinese “10 cities 10,000 lights” program is responsible for a LED street-light retrofit project in three Beijing districts, while grants and utilities continue to drive outdoor SSL projects in the US.

China continues to set the pace as the leader in outdoor solid-state-lighting (SSL) installations with the Beijing urban districts of Dong Cheng, Chao Yang, and Da Xing getting energy-saving LED street lights. A US Department of Energy (DOE) grant will allow Asheville, North Carolina to add 900 BetaLED street lights, and Vermont-based Green Mountain Power is providing rate and purchase incentives for LED-street-light installations.

Osram Oslon LEDs light Beijing streets

The Beijing project is using luminaires from HBTechnology Cast Group that integrate Osram Opto Semiconductors’ 1W-class Oslon LEDs. The new 120W and 180W fixtures are replacing 250W and 400W sodium vapor lamps. The city hopes to realize 50% energy savings.

The beam angle, 3x3-mm size, and color rendering of the Oslon LEDs made them the right choice for the project according to HBTechnology. Referring to the 80° beam angle and size, managing director of the HBTechnology Cast Group Bing Hu said, “In this way, the LEDs meet all of our technical requirements and we have no problems integrating them into the external lenses. The result is homogeneous and powerful illumination of the streets without light pollution.”

The Beijing project is part of the "10 cities 10,000 lights" program that’s being pursued by the China Ministry of Science and Technology. The program is spearheading the installation of energy-efficient SSL in applications including street lights, tunnel lights, subway and light-rail installations, and parks.

EECBG funds Ashville project

According to the Ashville Citizen-Times newspaper website, the North Carolina city will buy and install 900 LED street lights. The Ashville city council has voted to use a $290,000 DOE Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) to help fund the project that covers 10% of the city’s street lights. The city hopes to save $48,492 annually in energy and reduce the local-government carbon footprint by 0.7%.

Progress Energy is the regional regulated utility in the Ashville area. According to the New Streetlights website, BetaLED is the only LED street light supplier on the utility’s list of approved fixtures. So presumably BetaLED products will be used in the project. Ultimately the city plans to upgrade the entire inventory of 8,900 street lights that it owns.

EECBG funds will also enable an SSL street light project in Greenfield, Indiana. The Indiana Municipal Power Agency (IMPA) won a $5 million grant that will be distributed among twenty communities that are IMPA members. New Streetlights reports that Greenfield is installing 1,500 new LED lights. The city is deploying GE Lighting Solutions’ Evolve luminaire.

Green Mountain Power and Efficiency Vermont

In Vermont, Green Mountain Power plans to help every town in its service territory convert to SSL street lights. "Last year Green Mountain Power became one of only a handful of utilities in the country to offer an LED-specific rate to customers for outdoor lighting. This year we are taking it a step further by proposing to lower the rate and offer financial assistance to towns to change to LED lights," said Mary Powell, president and chief executive officer of Green Mountain Power.

Green Mountain Power is partnering with Efficiency Vermont on the project. The state-legislature-created Efficient Vermont initiative is operated by the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation and is chartered to reduce consumer energy costs, strengthen the state economy, and protect the environment.

Green Mountain Power has proposed a pilot program with the Vermont Public Service board asking to use $300,000 from its GMP Efficiency Fund for the program.

Efficiency Vermont will ultimately provide both technical and financial assistance to cities pursuing an SSL project. Jay Pilliod, director of business energy services of Efficiency Vermont said, “With our Step-By-Step Guide to Implementing an Outdoor LED Project, and enhanced technical assistance and financial rebates provided by Efficiency Vermont, towns have the tools they need for a successful transition.”

California Energy Commission

In California, meanwhile the California Energy Commission is also providing incentives for cities pursuing an SSL upgrade. The Oakland Tribune reported for instance, that the city of Piedmont received a $58,369 grant from the commission to install 85 LED street lights.

Pacific Gas & Electric is the local utility in the Piedmont area and will also provide a $10,000 rebate upon completion of the project. The city has selected a company called Amland Corp. to handle the project based on a bid of $49,950. Essentially the city will make money on the upgrade and anticipates 60-70% energy savings.