Philadelphia, PA — City leadership and the Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) announced the kickoff of construction for the Philly Streetlight Improvement Project, a citywide project to replace and connect approximately 130,000 streetlights into a network of more efficient, longer-lasting, remotely-controlled light emitting diode (LED) lights.
The 24-month construction project will reduce streetlighting energy use by more than 50 percent and is the single largest energy conservation project the City has undertaken, reducing municipal carbon emissions by more than 9 percent. The energy savings, avoided operations and maintenance costs, and energy efficiency rebates will realize savings over time for the City, making the $91.2MM citywide improvement project cost neutral over the 20-year financing period. The project bond, issued by PEA, is the City’s first Sustainability Bond, per an independent external review and opinion by Kestrel, an Approved Verifier accredited by the Climate Bonds Initiative.
The upgraded LED luminaires are designed to be fully controllable through remote monitoring on a secure network known as a Lighting Management System (LMS), providing the City instantaneous updates on outages and the ability to dim and brighten fixtures. The improved reliability and performance will support public safety by improving the ability for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists to see at night.
The project will prioritize LED installation in neighborhoods where public safety needs are highest, as identified through nighttime crime data, nighttime vehicle crash data, 57 Blocks Initiative data, and Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s Indicators of Potential Disadvantage. Fixtures are designed to have a warm color temperature, a diffused lens for enhanced visual comfort, and “boosted” lumen outputs in priority installation areas. The citywide design reflects a data-driven approach that incorporated community feedback received from surveys taken across 15 trial installations.
The project expects to achieve 58 percent minority- and women-owned participation on the project as well as 58 percent participation by local business enterprises. The project created local job opportunities for Philadelphians through a field audit and local assembly of fixtures.
“As we move towards a resilient and climate-ready Philadelphia, the Philly Streetlight Improvement Project exemplifies the win-win infrastructure investments the city needs,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “LED streetlights will enhance the quality of life for all Philadelphians by providing better, more reliable lighting. It will also help us advance toward our city’s goals for Vision Zero, by providing better visibility to reduce traffic crashes, as well as ensure our continued progress toward meeting our 2030 energy and climate goals.”
“Our city’s streetlights have been in use since the 1970s and we are long overdue for an upgrade,” said Carlton Williams, Commissioner for the Department of Streets. “Improving Philadelphia’s infrastructure with our residents’ support is one of our top priorities. Projects like this enable us to add remote optimized lighting and outage monitoring that will create operational efficiencies for our street lighting management system, while simultaneously providing city residents with better streetscape visibility and cost savings.”
“This is the largest energy efficiency project the city has ever done, and it will touch every single neighborhood,” said Emily Schapira, President and CEO of the Philadelphia Energy Authority. “We are thrilled to have issued the City’s first Sustainability Bond for this project, and we are proud to enable projects like this that balance environmental, social and financial impact for the City.”
“With public safety on the minds of all Philadelphians, we’re eager to install longer-lasting, better performing LED lights as an important public safety tool for neighborhoods,” said City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, 5th District. “The project is yet another example of how clean energy is a tool for addressing Philadelphia’s biggest challenges. This is a win for sustainability and a big win for neighborhoods all across our great city.”
“We are excited to kick off this once-in-a-generation energy conservation project,” said Liz Lankenau, Interim Director of the Office of Sustainability. “This project will deliver numerous community benefits while also advancing Philadelphia toward our goal of becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2050.”
“We are honored to work with the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Energy Authority on this landmark installation that will have positive impacts on Philadelphia residents,” said Peter Christakis, Executive Vice President and General Manager Northeast Region at Ameresco. “As the clean energy partner, it is a joy to collaborate on smart city solutions that will not only modernize Philadelphia’s lighting infrastructure but also generate substantial cost savings and enhance streetscape visibility. The future is bright, thanks to the visionary leaders at the City and PEA, who drive progress and innovation.”
To learn more about the Philly Streetlight Improvement Project and view the two-week look-ahead construction map, please visit phillystreetlightimprovement.com.
About the Philadelphia Streetlight Improvement Project (PSIP)
The Philadelphia Streetlight Improvement Project (PSIP) will convert 130,000 high pressure sodium street lights into a network of more efficient, longer-lasting LED lights. By upgrading to higher performing streetlights with a new lighting management system (LMS), residents will benefit from better visibility and faster lighting replacement times. The Philadelphia Streetlight Improvement Project (PSIP) is a three-year undertaking and Philadelphia’s largest energy conservation project. The project has the potential to cut more municipal carbon emissions than any other energy efficiency project, making it a key strategy in the City’s Municipal Energy Master Plan.
About Philadelphia Energy Authority
The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) is an independent municipal authority focused on building a robust, equitable clean energy economy for Philadelphia. With the leadership of City Council President Darrell Clarke, PEA runs the Philadelphia Energy Campaign, a $1 billion, 10-year investment in energy efficiency and clean energy projects to create 10,000 jobs. PEA has supported over $380 million in projects and created nearly 3,300 jobs so far. Learn more at www.philaenergy.org.
About Philadelphia City Council