Detroit prepares for complete shift to LED street lighting

DETROIT, MI — The Public Lighting Authority is looking for LED (light-emitting diode) suppliers for its upcoming $160 million project to outfit the city’s entire streetlight system with the brighter, more efficient lights.

Detroit’s severely dysfunctional lighting system is being reconfigured, with work beginning in two pilot neighborhoods this month, followed by a complete overhaul to last through 2015 on residential blocks and through 2016 along major roads.


Mayor Mike Duggan this week said the city decided to turn to LED lighting to boost efficiency from the current high-pressure sodium lights without taking on the risk of solar lighting.

“Overwhelmingly, the cutting-edge cities are going from sodium to LED,” Duggan said. “We couldn’t find a significant city going to solar… We made the decision to follow what is, I believe, the most advanced national trend right now, which is LED. Ten years from now, might it become solar? Yes. But I really don’t want Detroit to be the first to try it out.”

Public Lighting Authority Executive Director Odis Jones said using LED lights will save the city $2.5 million a year.