Turner, who now serves as Somerville’s city administrator, says that with the Cree XSP solution the town has reduced average wattage per light from 400 to 100. The cost of electricity for the XSP2™ street lights has been reduced by 65 percent, saving, he says, “75 percent across the board on the whole project.”
“We originally budgeted more than $100,000 a year for our lights and now we budget $25,000,” Turner says. “That’s 75,000 tax dollars saved in the general fund.”
Given that the town collects only $450,000 a year in property taxes, that, he affirms, is a considerable savings. And the expected return on investment is well under two years.
As for moving forward: “I actually put $25,000 in our budget this year for additional street lighting.” That will buy the town 40 to 50 new lights – a somewhat more favorable solution than the original proposal to remove lights.
What has been removed, says Turner, is “a lot of moving parts. We no longer have ballasts. The lights come on and off immediately; it no longer takes 20 minutes for them to warm up.”
Somerville’s Street Light Energy Efficiency Program, as the overall project was called, earned the town a 2015 Excellence in Energy Efficiency award from the Tennessee Municipal League.
Recognition for green efficiency was much appreciated, Turner said, but not as much as the “green” the town saved in its budget. “Seventy-five thousand dollars is significant!” he notes. As are the results on Somerville’s streets. “I’m surprised now when I drive in towns that have streetlights on both sides of the street,” Turner says. “They have what feels like 200 fixtures for a stretch of four miles. And I think, Man, they’re wastin’ money!”