New tool helps cities evaluate costs of switching to LED lights

Cities and utilities now have an easy to use, Excel-based tool for estimating the costs and impacts of switching to street lighting using light-emitting diodes. Called the “Retrofit Financial Analysis Tool,” it’s available for download at www.ssl.energy.gov/financial-tool.html.

According to the Department of Energy, information gleaned from the tool is useful not only for planning and budgeting, but also in applying for financing. The cost of LED street lighting has dropped more than 25 percent in the past year, so the tool will also help cities evaluate costs in present-day dollars.

Users input data on the relevant variables for their particular application – such as the incumbent technology, quantities, phase-in period, prevailing electricity and labor rates, sales tax, installation cost, loan interest rate, and rebates – to get a detailed analysis that includes annualized energy-cost savings, maintenance savings, greenhouse gas reductions, and payback.

DOE estimates 26.5 million streetlights in the United States consume as much electricity each year as 1.9 million households, and generate greenhouse gas emissions equal to that produced by 2.6 million cars.

DOE created the consortium in 2010 to help cities with their efforts to pursue energy-efficient lighting, particularly in evaluating LED streetlight products. The new financial tool complements the Model Specification for LED Roadway Luminaires published by the consortium in October.  

To download the financial tool or to view an instructional video, see www.ssl.energy.gov/financial-tool.html. More information about the consortium is posted at www.ssl.energy.gov/consortium.html.

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