Minneapolis, Xcel launch ambitious LED streetlight proposals

Optimism and excitement abounds for LED Streetlights as item #3  on Community Power's online list of goals for the Minneapolis Clean Energy Partnership to accomplish.

In her Budget Proposal released this August, Mayor Hodges allocated $400,000 “to accelerate Minneapolis’ conversation of City-owned streetlights to LED technology.” The up-front cost of installing LED streetlights is offset by their lower energy consumption and maintenance costs. The program will pay for itself in three and a half years as the planned retrofitting of 900 LED fixtures which will save about $113,400 per year over their lifetime. 

Additional cities in Minnesota have already been switching to LED streetlights to save money such as St. Cloud.

Xcel owns and maintains 28,000 of the streetlights within the Minneapolis, which are generally the wooden poles. Meanwhile 20,000 of the streetlights in the city are municipally-owned. In both cases the City pays Xcel for the electricity.  

On Thursday October 15th, Xcel Energy filed a 5-year LED streetlight proposal with the Public Utilities Commission that will enable them to retrofit their share of Minneapolis Streetlights.

Not only do LED lights require 40 percent to 60 percent less electricity than the high-pressure sodium lights, the most common incumbent street lighting technology. LED’s provide a much higher quality, full-spectrum light than the yellowish glare of sodium lights. LED lights are a big boost for public safety because their white light has a lot better visibility, and they last 2 decades as opposed to only 5 or 6 years.  

 In addition to Minneapolis, Xcel has announced plans to retrofit all of its streetlights in Minnesota to LED and the remaining 7 states it serves thanks to the cost of LEDs dropping so significantly. 

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