Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative has started testing energy-efficient LED street lights at four locations as part of its plan to retrofit 3,500 fixtures owned by the County of Kauaʻi and the State of Hawaiʻi.

KIUC is testing LED lights supplied by three vendors who responded to a request for proposals issued by the cooperative in May.

The newest LED lights use one-third the energy of traditional high-pressure sodium lights, potentially providing significant savings to government agencies. The county, which is KIUC’s largest customer, spends about $1 million a year on 2,900 street lights. The state has 582 lights on Kauaʻi.

This is the first time in Hawaiʻi that an island’s entire inventory of street lights will be switched to LEDs.

The project is a result of a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 by KIUC President and CEO David Bissell and Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. The agreement commits the cooperative and local government to work together to reduce the island’s consumption of fossil fuel and lower the cost of energy for its residents.

“We appreciate the strong partnership we have with KIUC and look forward to completing this project and many others that will benefit everyone on Kauaʻi and help us reach our goal of energy self-sufficiency,” Mayor Carvalho said.

LED lights are being tested at four sites: Hardy Street in Līhuʻe, from the county complex to Wilcox Elementary School; Kaumualiʻi Highway near the new Hōkūlei Village shopping center in Līhuʻe; Kūhiō Highway at Wailuā Beach near the old Coco Palms hotel; and Haleilio Road in Wailuā Houselots.

For the next two to three months, the lights will be evaluated for durability, ease of installation and light quality.

The new lights are controlled electronically, making it simple to adjust them by season and time of day and to turn individual lights on and off. The brightness level can be changed remotely and the system reports when a light is out, speeding up replacement.

KIUC will pay for the retrofitting work and recover the cost through a revised tariff with the county and state. The new tariff requires the approval of the Hawaiʻi Public Utilities Commission.

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