Well, it seems the City of Monterey is going to change out roughly 2000 street lights for more energy efficient LED lights, replacing the sodium vapor lights currently used. They are doing this to ” allow Monterey to comply with a state law requiring the reduction of municipal greenhouse gas emissions“.

Article in the Monterey Herald.

So, a few items of note that I find interesting.

The total cost of this is going to be $934,000 for just over 1900 LED lights, or roughly $490 per light. The city is using a 10 year low interest loan to pay for this and will pay the loan back with the money they are “saving” in lower energy bills.  Hmmm…

$490 per light vs $50 (total guess) or so for a High Pressure Sodium Bulb.

FYI. From what I can figure out the Mean Time Between Failures of a LED light like this is quoted at roughly 50,000 hours.  Now that sounds like a lot, but remember there are 1900 LED lights with that average. So,

50,000 hours / 1900 lights / 8 hours on a day(rough average over the year) = 3.28 days between average failures.

This means the City of Monterey will be replacing one of these $490 LED lights every 3 1/4 days, or 2 per week.

$490 x 2 per week x 52 weeks per year = $50,960 per year in replacement costs. Let’s be nice and say the replacement cost is 1/2 that of initial installation (I’m being nice). So this makes it $25,000 or so in just bulb replacement cost over the course of an average year.  Or another way to look at it $250,000 in replacement costs on top of the $934,000 in initial installation costs plus interest over the course of the loan.

I’m hoping that I really screwed something up here. Otherwise this whole California attitude of “save us from Global Warming” by bankrupting us idea just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. At least the article isn’t claiming they are doing this to save money. It actually looks like a money loser even when you figure the savings of more energy efficient LED’s.

If anyone has better figures for LED replacement cost vs Sodium Vapor (I don’t know the cost of the bulbs for comparison), and/or the difference in MTBF for both I’d be interested to hear. On the surface this whole project looks like more “Green” bullshit to spend money that doesn’t do anything but let politicians pat themselves on the back say what a wonderful job they are doing saving the world.