At the city’s request, Georgia Power has begun replacing Statesboro’s high-pressure sodium streetlights with LED, or light-emitting diode, fixtures.
Until a few years ago, LEDs were tiny devices. But now they are available in high-power types that produce a broader-spectrum light than the high-pressure sodium lamps, and direct as much light toward the street while consuming less energy. From now through March, Georgia Power will replace about 1,100 of Statesboro’s 2,000 or so streetlights with LED fixtures, said city of Statesboro Public Works and Engineering Director Jason Boyles.
“The city has been requesting Georgia Power to provide LED street lights for several years and they have finally reached a point where (Georgia Power is) satisfied with the quality and performance of the available cobrahead-style LED lights,” Boyles said.
Statesboro already had a few LED streetlamps, but these are decorative post-top lights on East Main Street. The city installed them as part of the streetscape project there a few years ago.
But cobraheads, usually mounted on the sides of tall utility poles, are the more common street lighting fixtures found all over town. It is the most common sizes of these that are now being replaced.
The 150-watt high-pressure sodium lights are being replaced with 91-watt LED lights, and 100-watt high-pressure sodium lights with 63-watt LED fixtures. Despite the lower power consumption, the conversion to LEDs won’t result in savings in the city’s combined bill for the lights and the power it takes to operate them.
This is because the LED devices are more expensive to purchase or lease. The city pays a monthly fee to lease these lights from the power company. The combined power and rental bill for one of the older 150-watt lamps is about $13.60 a month, and will be the same for the 91-watt LED fixture that replaces it, Boyles said.
So the gain in efficiency will not have any immediate effect on Statesboro’s $432,000 annual budget for street lighting.
“It’s a wash in terms of cost,” Boyles said when asked about this.
But the LED lights are expected to have other advantages, he had emphasized in an emailed announcement.
The older high-pressure sodium lamps, he noted, can be recognized by their yellow-orange glow. But light from the LED fixtures looks white.
“LED lights provide a broader spectrum of light, meaning human eyes can better see street signs, bicyclists, pedestrians, and colors resulting in better vision at night,” Boyles stated. “LED light fixtures better direct light on roadways where it is needed and do not create upward glare, meaning they are dark-sky compliant.”
Unlike high-pressure sodium lights, LED streetlamps will not fade over time, he added. When they eventually burn out, they will go from full-on to dark.
The light from the LED fixtures spreads more evenly without “hot spots” and dark areas, Boyles stated. He said this will benefit law enforcement. This was a consideration for a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design program that Mayor Jan Moore, interim City Manager Robert Cheshire, the Statesboro Police Department and the Public Works and Engineering Department have been working on together.
Utility Lines Construction Services, a contractor for Georgia Power, has already changed out the lights in the northwest part of Statesboro, including Northlake subdivision, North Main Street and some neighborhoods in-between. Additionally, the contractor has replaced some lights along South College Street and nearby streets. The crews are using white trucks with “Utility” on the side.
The 900 or so city-funded lights not being replaced in the current project include some bigger, higher-wattage types. Replacement of these is “anticipated but has not been scheduled yet,” Boyles said. General inquiries about the project and Statesboro’s street lighting can be made to the city’s Public Works division at (912) 764-0681.
Herald staff writer Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.