GE LED Streetlighting Helps Pennsylvania Town Save $40,000

The Borough of Tarentum, a small town of approximately 4,500 nestled along the Allegheny River in Western Pennsylvania, is converting 100 percent of its street lighting to GE's new Evolve™ LED Scalable Cobrahead fixtures with dimmable photocells. The switch will save Tarentum approximately 66 percent in annual lighting energy and maintenance expense, equaling about $40,000 based on a $.10 kWh rate and 4,000 hours of operation a year. And, with financing from GE Capital, the borough has been provided a lease-to-own solution that requires no out-of-pocket funds and results in an annual positive cash flow.

Tarentum city officials explored a number of options for saving on energy costs, ultimately engaging GE Lighting in a discussion about its ecomaginationSM LED technology. GE conducted an audit of Tarentum's high-pressure sodium-vapor roadway lighting comprised of 310 100-watt fixtures and 120 250-watt fixtures, then estimated total wattage usage and utility billing.

Tarentum is the first U.S. city to convert 100 percent of its street lighting to GE's new Evolve™ LED Scalable fixtures.

The analysis showed Tarentum's old street lighting consumed 335,771 kilowatt hours (kWhs) of electricity per year, opposed to an estimated 112,517 kWhs to power GE's Evolve LED Roadway fixtures for one year. The LED lights, with a 50,000 hour-rated life, would also alleviate the city's maintenance costs. Tarentum was receiving frequent calls to respond to streetlight outages with resulting labor costs totaling $20,000 a year.

Taking these circumstances into account, GE Capital facilitated a lease-to-own financing strategy that applies the town's monthly street lighting savings of $3,200 toward its LED lighting purchase. As a result, Tarentum Borough was able to achieve cash flow positive status from day one of the project.

"This program has a big impact on us, because we pay ourselves," says Bill Rossey, borough manager. "Tarentum owns all of its streetlights, the power to run them and the maintenance for upkeep. So anything we can do to save money is a definite plus for us. That's what made this partnership with GE so attractive. It's a no-brainer."

Tarentum retrofit 430 streetlights with dimmable and programmable Evolve LED fixtures. The dimming capability of GE's Monitor™ Stand-Alone Controllers allows Tarentum to dim the lights to a prefixed percentage. The borough plans to dim the streetlights to a 30-percent reduction in light output from 12 a.m. to 4 a.m.

"What really impresses us about GE's lighting fixtures is that there's a noticeable difference in how clean the light looks," says Tim Rapp, city council president. "When city council was presented the proposal to vote on, there was no argument against the upgrade. It absolutely was the right thing to do."

The fixtures will add a new sense of security, Rossey said, especially for local businesses and the police department, noting the light will more evenly illuminate streets.

"It's a win-win situation," says Tarentum Mayor Carl Magnetta, Jr. "It's not going to cost our citizens any more money, we're getting beautiful light and we're dealing with a reputable company that has been around for more than a hundred years. GE made this decision very easy for us."

Start to finish, the decision was reached in four months after Tarentum learned of GE's technology and financing program, says Austin Ashe, GE territory manager. "Tarentum was able to look into the program, ask questions and review the details quickly, which is significant because in this case, the city was able to align this program with their budget and maintenance cycle."

Mayor Magnetta added, "Tarentum Borough is leading Allegheny County and the state of Pennsylvania. We saw the light, and we're very proud of our city."

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