Lighting communication has been a hot topic for the past couple of years. We usually come across them in headlines such as cities installing smart lighting, cities getting connected, cities installing lighting controls and etc. One of the biggest installations we have thus far is the networked LED street lights installation of Los Angeles, for more information please refer to theLEDsMagazine’s article on this topic. And not just Los Angeles, cities and countries all over are looking to couple their street lights with some sort of lighting communication protocol. Just to name a few: Florida (has the goal to connect 500,000 of its lights), San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Arizona, and etc.
In short, there will be a lot of street lights that will be controlled via some sort of lighting communication protocol in the next few years. However if we take a step back, there is still one big hurdle that these cities and municipalities will need to overcome before reaping the financial savings of connected lighting. This hurdle is the dilemma of cities still paying fixed tariff based rates for their street light energy bills. In the case of retrofitting HID lights with LED, most cities were able to negotiate lower tariff rates however these rates are fixed and do not account for actual energy consumption.
There are controls capabilities available to monitor energy consumption from each street luminaire, most utilities have strict guidelines of less than 0.5% metered accuracy. However, even with capability of metering energy consumption there is no clear timeline of when street lights will have electric bills from actual metered data than fixed tariff rates. City of Los Angeles was able to be more flexible in their requirements and required 2% metered accuracy.
Though the current direct energy savings may not be there for cities opting into connected lighting many are looking at other benefits:
· Most cities are reporting that since LED street lights are now considered an investment given they last longer than the incumbent technology, reduce maintenance costs and cost much more, so it is now important for them to be able to track these assets.
· Dimming LED street and area lighting may increase the overall lifetime of the products.
· With GPS capabilities failed and malfunctioned lights can now be quickly located on the provided computer monitoring system than previously.
So though the current rate tariffs system may not make a great case for connected outdoor lighting currently, the added benefits of lighting communications are making it a worthwhile investment for some cities.
At Strategies Unlimited, we have seen a growing demand for information on the connected lighting market. For this reason, we are coming out with three new reports in 2015 that cover these markets:
·The Connected Outdoor Lighting Report (To be released in June 2015)
·Connected Professional Luminaires and Lighting Controls (To be released September 2015)
·The Connected Lamps Market (To be released August 2015)
For more information please contact Tim Carli firstname.lastname@example.org