By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
City going green with street lights
Placeholder Image
Action taken Monday will result in Ceres being the first city in the Valley to go with all green street lighting technology while saving taxpayers $186,000 in electrical costs.

The Ceres City Council approved on Monday an agreement for PG&E to oversee the switchover of electricity-hungry sodium vapor street lighting to LED technology. The lights are expected to cut the cost of electricity in half, produce brighter light, possibly reduce crime and last years longer.

The city is securing a $1.193 million low-interest loan from the state to fund the project.

Acting City Manager Art deWerk said the change over will result in the reduction of the city's carbon footprint by 650,000 million pounds per year.

"This is a big energy savings," said Public Works Supt. Michael Riddell.

Currently the city spends $225,000 per year for electricity to power approximately 2,212 street lights. LED technology will reduce that power bill by $108,000 annually. And because the fixtures are guaranteed seven year and LEDs last anywhere from 20 to 40 years, the city expects to save another $80,000 savings over a seven-year period.

Most cities currently use high pressure sodium (HPS) vapor or mercury vapor lamps. LEDs, short for light emitting diodes, operate differently with a sunflower type collection of smaller LEDs. An LED uses 90 watts for the same thing as a high pressure sodium requiring 159 watts, said Riddell.

Another advantage to the newer technology is a third of the LEDs can fail in a unit and still produce a fair of amount of light. When a sodium bulb goes, it has to be replaced.

Residents will notice the new lights after they are installed beginning in December.

"They will notice a different whiter light," said Riddell. That whiter light, he said, will allow people to better distinguish colors at night which will aid in reporting of crimes. "The police department is all for it. With the LED technology if a car drives by a resident will be able to tell the color the car is rather than say it was a dark vehicle."

Anyone interested in how the new lights will look may take a drive down Kinser Road where two LEDs are currently operating. One is at the corner of Kinser Road at Blaker Road and the other is in the 1600 block of Kinser Road.Forum

Riddell said it will take about 11 1/2 years for the city to pay off the loan from the California Energy Commission through annual savings.

Turlock Irrigation District, which is the electricity provider for Ceres, is offering the city a $66,000 refund for the change-out.

PG&E has a program to oversee change-out projects even though it may not sell electricity to a city. PG&E will perform a comprehensive audit on the number of street lights, wattages, voltage that's running them and perform a photometric study.

The city has tentative approval for the loan and is now waiting for the CEC to approve it. The change out is expected to begin Dec. 1 and take 60 days.