Alliant Energy bringing energy-efficient technology to Prairie du Chien streetlights, 15 LED streetlights installed along East Wells Street

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Alliant Energy has installed 15 LED streetlight units along East Wells Street in Prairie du Chien. The lights are supposed to be whiter, more defined, and directed more on the street, allowing the human eye to see details and colors better. Pictured, an old light gets taken down. (Photos by Correne MartIn)
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Alliant Energy is shown installing a new light near Bluff View School.
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One of the new LED lights is shown here.

 By Correne Martin

Alliant Energy replaced 15 streetlights in Prairie du Chien  this week with light-emitting diode (LED) units as part of a pilot project to test the performance of LED technology. Once installed, the LED streetlights are expected to last
longer and increase the lighting quality compared to the units now in use.

“We have chosen Prairie du Chien as one of 20 Wisconsin communities where we will install and test LED streetlights,” said Troy Pittz, Alliant Energy key account manager. “We will monitor their energy usage, as well as the quality of light they emit, to see how they work under everyday traffic and weather conditions.”

The new streetlights were put in along East Wells Street, starting at the intersection of South 9th and East Wells Streets near Kwik Trip and extending east past the Bluff View Intermediate School.  One LED light was also installed at the end of the cul-de-sac on 14th Street, to see how it works in that kind of location. There is no cost to the city for this project.

“We have a great relationship with Alliant, and I think they chose Prairie du Chien for this pilot project because of that,” Co-Manager of Public Works Terry Meyer said.

Alliant chose the Wells Street (and one on 14th) location because they wanted to test the performance of the lights in a higher-traffic area and one that includes dense residential development.

The current streetlights in Prairie du Chien, as well as those throughout most of Wisconsin, are high-pressure sodium (HPS) streetlights. The majority of these lights feature a 100-watt or 150-watt equivalent, or class of bulb. The new LED streetlights are 80-watt units and tests of similar wattage bulbs have shown that they use considerably less electricity and produce a higher-quality light for the roadway.

Many people in communities across the country where the LED streetlights were first piloted have reported very positive changes on the roads. The LED light is whiter, more defined and sharper than HPS-produced light. The light is directed more on the street, which allows the human eye to see details and colors better, and it is less yellow-colored than HPS-produced light. In addition, LED streetlights are designed to have a much longer useful life than HPS streetlights, which would reduce the ongoing maintenance cost.

“While LED technology has been around for a long time, the considerably higher upfront cost of LED streetlights did not make them cost-effective in the past for our company and customers,” added Pittz. “As the technology has evolved, the overall costs associated with LED streetlights have dropped, which has started to make them a viable alternative.”

“If we can reduce energy consumption, and in turn reduce the overall cost, that makes everybody happy,” Meyer added. “We’re excited to see how the program works and see if it improves neighborhood lighting. Maybe in the future, we could see LEDs all over the city.”

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