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LED streetlights and web-based controls will save this West Coast city $600,000 a year

Everyone's gone surfing: Oceanside's Public Works division is surfing web-based interfaces to control the new LED streetlights.

Oceanside, Calif. has installed nearly 8,000 remote-controlled, web-connected LED streetlamps that it expects will save the West Coast city over half a million dollars a year in electricity and maintenance costs.

The $5 million project, funded by a loan from Bank of America (see note below), replaces high pressure sodium lighting with 7,700 LED luminaires connected via a web-like interface to a central control system.

The anticipated $600,000 in annual savings will come both from the LEDs’ greater energy efficiency compared to the sodium lamps, and from the control system, provider GE Lighting said.

Oceanside Public Works division manager Hans Kiel Kroger told Lux that lower energy consumption will account for 75 per cent of the savings, with the rest coming from lower maintenance costs. Oceanside will apply the savings to help pay off the 12-year, 3.15 per cent interest  loan from Bank of America’s Banc of America Public Capital Corp. subsidiary, which tends to focus on government entities.

In addition to the savings, Oceanside received a $450,000 rebate from its electricity provider, utility San Diego Gas & Electric  and anticipates an additional $70,000 rebate, Kroger said. 

Oceanside has equipped each fixture with a GPS chip that pinpoints its location and allows the city of around 175,000 people to turn individual lamps on or off and to brighten or dim them as needed from a central point. The same GE LightGrid control system also spots maintenance needs as they occur.

‘Illuminating our city with GE’s LED street lights with LightGrid gives us control like we’ve never had before,’ said Kiel Kroger, Oceanside Public Works division manager. ‘We’re able to efficiently light roadways in a way that makes sense for how our city operates day to day, all while reducing our energy bills.’

The web connections work on an intranet basis. Unlike neighbour and fellow GE customer San Diego to the south, Oceanside did not deploy GE’s broader Intelligent Cities technology, intended to connect lights via the internet to other systems in an ‘internet of things’ scheme.

As Lux’s Ray Molony noted this week, it is still unclear how such ‘connected’ lighting schemes will offer genuine value and usefulness, as the ‘killer app’ has yet to arrive.

One step at a time. For now, Oceanside has put a chunky toe into the waters of lighting and web-connectivity. It and other cities might want to eventually go for a bigger swim.

Note: After this story ran, GE corrected its press release to clarify that the funding was a loan, not a grant, as GE originally stated. After Lux udpated the story, GE further clarified, via Oceanside, that the loan was not a ‘government’ loan as the orginal press release stated, but that it came from Bank of America. Lux last updated this story on July 28 at around 5:00 p.m. BST.  We believe that GE now has its story straight, but we will provide any further changes.

Photo is from GE Lighting

Want to learn more about lighting’s role in the internet of things?  Wherever you are in the world, sign up for  Lux’s  IoT webinar, happening Aug. 5, morning in America, afternoon in Europe, nighttime in Asia.