Detroit streets will get brighter with LED lights. Photo by Jellaluna via Creative Commons.
There’s been plenty of dark news out of Detroit recently.
But one bright spot in the beleaguered city is the ongoing replacement of aging street lights with highly efficient and attractive LED street lights. By July 1 Detroit had installed its 10,000th LED street light, putting it ahead of schedule on a plan for 65,000 new such lights through 2016.
Other municipalities statewide are also moving to adopt LED street lights, thanks to federal supports and an optional energy efficiency program providing rebates throughout most of the state.
Fifty percent of Detroit’s street lights are not working, according to Public Lighting Authority of Detroit CEO Odis Jones. The Authority is installing the new lights by leveraging federal tax credits available through the United States Department of Energy (DOE), which has recognized Detroit as a leader in replacing its street lights with LEDs to achieve a lower carbon footprint.
Improving lighting in Detroit, Jones said, will help to eliminate crime.
“Broken windows theory tells us that when you improve lighting it has a big effect on crime,” Jones said. “We’re going to have 65,000 lights that are working. It’s going to improve the safety of our communities. Kids in Detroit sit on their porches.”
Meanwhile Michigan municipalities in the utility Consumer Energy’s service territory outside Detroit will also have an opportunity to install new LED street lights thanks to an order signed April 1 by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), creating a subsidy program for the energy efficient lights.
“This order itself wasn’t anything earth-shattering,” said MPSC energy efficiency manager Rob Ozar. “What is earth-shattering is that LED street lighting is taking the state by storm. We expect LED lighting to take 80 percent of the market share.”