Tuesday June 13, 2006
Partnership for a Green City Initiative
Mayor Jerry Abramson has announced that the city has purchased and installed three solar-powered street lights in downtown Louisville as part of a Partnership for a Green City pilot project. Three energy conserving lights have been installed on Market Street between 6th and 7th directly behind City Hall.
“We want to determine if solar-powered lights are feasible in an urban setting,” Abramson said. “The biggest challenge we have in downtown Louisville is the location of buildings that may block the sun. If these lights can work downtown - they can work anywhere.”
The City leases about 25,000 street lights from LG&E at an annual energy cost of $2.6 million. LG&E allowed the city to install the pilot project lights on its poles.
The Louisville Metro Public Works Department also owns and operates about 1,500 decorative street lights in the Central Business District. The annual energy cost for those lights is about $330,000.
The street lights will produce pollution-free energy and may reduce energy costs. The lights may be ideal for remote locations in parks because there is no need for trenching or connectivity to an electrical grid. Solar-powered lights may also be used in the future near hospitals and other emergency locations.
Faculty and students from the University of Louisville will monitor the lights during the next eight months – tracking reliability, maintenance costs and output. The solar-powered lights, made by three different manufacturers, will then be moved to different locations for testing. The equipment will be monitored through the winter months to ensure the Louisville climate can support solar-powered street lights.
“If these solar street lights work the way we hope they will, there will be a whole new way to ‘light up Louisville’ using the sun,” UofL President Dr. James Ramsey said.
Each light cost almost $4,000. The equipment was purchased by using funds from an $800,000 grant to the Partnership for a Green City from the United States Department of Energy. Senator Mitch McConnell helped secure funding for the grant.
Louisville’s three largest public entities formed the Partnership for a Green City about two years ago. The partners have joined together to improve quality of life in the community, increase environmental education, conserve resources and save taxpayer dollars by combining purchasing power.
JCPS is utilizing solar-powered technology in several of its schools. A solar-powered hot water system is being installed at the new elementary school on Billtown Road. A new school is also being constructed on Aiken Road using traditional energy sources. Researchers will monitor progress at each school and compare costs. Engineers have also installed a solar-powered hot water heating system at Churchill Park School, which is being renovated.
“By using solar power action in schools, JCPS can help educate the rest of the community about the benefits of this pollution-free energy source,” JCPS Superintendent Dr. Stephen Daeschner said.
For more information about the Partnership for a Green City and other energy saving initiatives in Louisville Metro Government, see the "Learn More" section on the homepage of www.louisvilleky.gov.