WAPA replaced about 100 HPS bulbs with LED lights in street lamps throughout Cruz Bay like this one next to the ferry dock.
The Virgin Islands Water And Power Authority will soon start conserving energy and increasing efficiency on St. John.
With a $2.5 million grant from the V.I. Energy Office (VIEO), WAPA officials replaced 100 high-pressure sodium bulbs in streetlights throughout Cruz Bay with LED bulbs over the past several weeks.
The new bulbs use thirty percent less energy than the old ones, explained Radclyffe Percy, Supervisor of Engineering for VIEO who was on St. John last week inspecting the project.
“The grant was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and there are monitoring and reporting requirements,” said Percy. “I’m here to see what has been done and what needs to be done still.”
WAPA will be installing a total of 972 LED bulbs in streetlights across St. Thomas and St. Croix, but launched the program on St. John.
“We wanted to start the whole project right here on little St. John,” said Allyson Gregory, WAPA’s system planning manager. “So many people forget about St. John, we wanted to make a big impact with these lights and install them right here in Cruz Bay.”
For now the 90 LED streetlights in Cruz Bay will be only ones out of the island’s total 560 streetlights switched over, but WAPA is looking to expand LED usage in the future, according to Arthur Burton, WAPA’s Electrical Engineer II.
“The project is a large pilot program for WAPA as we look into possible future investment in LED lights,” said Burton. “We’ll track the energy consumption of the LED lights and we can compare them directly to HPS lights and see if it is worthwhile to invest in these bulbs in the future.”
The new lights give off a white instead of yellow glow and increase visibility while reducing light pollution, officials explained.
“The LED bulbs give off direct light below instead of the HPS bulbs that emit light in all directions,” Percy said.
“The LED emits light that is much more concentrated in the area right below the light, not dispersed in a wide area” said Burton. “Also the distinctive white light the LED gives off is more like natural light and allows colors to be seen a lot clearer.”
Each LED streetlight runs around $745 but does come with a five year warranty.
“If HPS lights burn out, we won’t be replacing them with LED bulbs,” said Burton. “But the LEDs are under warranty for five years, so if one of them burns out, we’ll just box it up and send it back to the dealer who will replace it.”
LEDs bulbs also have longer life cycles than HPS lights, Burton added.
“They last longer than traditional lights and we expect that to add to the savings we’ll be seeing,” said the engineer.
WAPA has also installed a streetlight management system on St. John, allowing the utility to stay on top of any maintenance issues remotely, explained Burton.
“Another part of this project is a state of the art technology which very few utilities have in full deployment,” he said. “We are starting our streetlight management system on St. John and should have the majority of the island complete within one to two weeks.”
The system will alert WAPA when a light burns out as well as if a light is on during the day, Burton explained.
“Right now if there is a maintenance issue, someone makes a phone call and we have to drive around and find the pole,” he said. “The system will alert us to any poles that need to be fixed and we can send someone right there to fix them. This will eliminate ‘day burners.’”
The streetlight management system is expected to increase the utility’s efficiency while reducing energy consumption, Burton added.
For more information about the WAPA LED streetlight project contact the VIEO by calling 713-8436.