By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — With the goal of saving money and becoming more energy efficient, Clifton Park officials have announced a plan to retrofit street lights with new LED bulbs.
The town’s streetlights are owned by National Grid. Last year, the town began to consider buying the lights from the utility company to save on maintenance and energy costs, according to town Supervisor Phil Barrett.
He said that there about 610 streetlights in town. Under the deal with National Grid, Clifton Park retains ownership of the LED lights, but National Grid will continue to own the utility poles.
Clifton Park will contract with Siemens Industry Inc. to replace the lights. Barrett did not know how much the conversion will cost, saying details will become clear once Siemens completes a map of each light in town.
There has not yet been a similar streetlight conversion project completed in the area.
Barrett said that the town decided to partner with Siemens because the company has experience with switching over lights in other communities in the Northeast.
After the lights are replaced, the town estimates it will save $2 million over the next 20 years on energy, and $7 million on utility and maintenance costs.
The LED lights will look slightly different from current lights, said Barrett.
Siemens will roll out the new lights in test areas before the full conversion happens. The company will be working with town employees during the rollout.
As Siemens conducts a full inventory of the town’s lighting, the company will also implement a map that updates in real-time when street lights are out or malfunctioning. Town residents will have access to the map.
Barrett estimated that the entire process will take several months to complete.
Though the town can continue to work with Siemens to replace the LED bulbs as they age and wear out, Barrett said the town will mostly likely opt to change the bulbs itself. As part of the conversion, Siemens will train town employees to replace the bulbs.
“When you can save money on a recurring basis, that is a fantastic achievement for any municipality,” Barrett said. “We’re reducing the town’s energy use, and at the same time, saving taxpayers’ money.”