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Lighting Up the Night with Friends of Smart Street Lights

  |   Cleantech San Diego, Energy Efficiency, Events, Intelligent Streetlights, Smart Cities San Diego, Smart Grid

On Feb. 23, CleanTECH San Diego hosted the first official side event of the Climate Leadership Conference,  a “Smart City Infrastructure” Presentation & Demonstration Tour at the new San Diego Central Library downtown.

Local CleanTECH San Diego members  joined  attendees of the Climate Leadership Conference from across the country and globe for a guided tour and demonstration of San Diego’s downtown intelligent street light adaptive controls pilot project. This cutting-edge initiative is transforming 40,000 San Diego street lights from the city’s biggest electricity cost center into a profit center. With 85% of the city’s street lights retrofitted to broad spectrum induction and LED luminaires, taxpayers are already saving $1.8 million, 15 million kilowatt hours annually, and eliminating 10,500 metric tons of carbon emissions.

During an evening walking tour of the post-top street light pilot site adjacent to the Central Library, guests learned how these “intelligent street lights” not only increase energy efficiency but also provide a platform to power a variety of advanced technologies and public services, such as Wi-Fi, cellular service, and emergency response mechanisms.

Preceding the tour was a presentation on the project’s full scope as envisioned by the leaders of this evolving partnership, including CleanTECH San Diego, City of San Diego, San Diego Gas & Electric, GE Lighting, and Qualcomm.

San Diego’s close collaboration with local utility SDG&E, which is developing a process that will qualify the power/energy meters embedded in each street light’s wireless control node for utility billing purposes, is a critical part of the project’s success. They provide the key technological advancement for transitioning currently unmetered street light networks from a flat tariff rate to a new metered tariff rate based on real-time energy usage at each pole — a vital step toward transforming the city’s current street light network from being one of its top cost centers into a versatile profit center.

With support from partners at Qualcomm, the global leader in wireless cellular chipsets, this initiative also puts San Diego on the leading edge of evolving cellular technology for integrating advanced applications into the “smart street light network” and expanding mobile network infrastructure to meet rapidly growing demand. With Qualcomm’s vendor-agnostic, open-systems approach and global reach, San Diego is well positioned to be at the forefront of technology advancements on this key element of the evolving smart city infrastructure.

In addition, Jean Bonander, Executive Director of the California Street Light Association was in the audience, and highly interested in learning about this leading-edge work so  she can help promulgate the concept across the state for maximum energy, emissions, and cost savings.

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