DOE unveils consortium for municipal LED-based street lighting

A new consortium will share information and help municipalities avoid mistakes when installing LED street lighting fixtures.

Jul 30th, 2009
To leverage the efforts of multiple cities pursuing evaluations of LED street lighting products, DOE has announced plans to form a Municipal Solid-State Street Lighting Consortium. The Consortium will collect, analyze, and share technical information and experiences related to LED street lighting demonstrations.

The Consortium will provide a forum for entities with similar backgrounds and needs to share information, ask questions, and tap into a large body of knowledge and experience that will help maximize the value of their dollars spent evaluating LED street lighting.

DOE expects to launch the Consortium in September 2009. Membership will be open to municipalities, utilities, and energy efficiency organizations, but not manufacturers. However, manufacturers might occasionally be invited to present information on selected topics at Consortium meetings.

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Numerous cities around the nation are announcing plans to conduct large-scale retrofits/comparisons of LED street lighting products with their conventional street lights. Many have approached the DOE Gateway demonstration program to offer themselves as host sites, particularly as American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) funding has become available to support these activities.

Gateway cannot physically assist all of these efforts separately within the timeframe allowed by ARRA. A couple of issues arise as a result of this limitation:

  • A significant and unnecessary duplication of effort is likely if all the projects proceed independently. Most of the planned demonstrations are similar except for geographic location, which impacts local climate, cost of electricity, and related details.
  • SSL streetlights are still a relatively new development and have no long-term operating history. Therefore, substantial risk exists for making large-scale mistakes with products that are not up to the mark in terms of performance, or expected durability/lifetime in a real-world environment.
The new Consortium will establish a coordinated effort among interested cities, power providers, and government entities to minimize duplication of effort and spread associated risk across multiple locations. Such cooperation offers participants a number of advantages over going it alone:
  • Each municipality participating in a demonstration of a single product risks only a modest number of installations but contributes to a much larger body of field test data when combined with the demonstration results from others.
  • Coordination among projects will help ensure consistency in evaluation methodology and underlying assumptions, while also providing results across a range of conditions (e.g., operating environments, cost factors).
  • The Consortium will provide a forum for entities with similar backgrounds and needs to share questions and answers and accelerate the learning curve.
  • By joining the Consortium, even small municipalities can tap into a large body of knowledge and experience that will help maximize the value of their dollars spent evaluating LED street lighting.
  • The Consortium will also work with DOE to identify new technical information needs that can then be pursued by DOE or by others, as appropriate. Consortium members can thus have a voice in the development of potential future street lighting evaluations.
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