LED Street Lighting – No Longer King of the Road
Given the need nationwide for more energy efficient and cost effective street lighting systems it is no surprise that we are now seeing the emergence of new technologies in led street light popping up on our streets. They promise to offer lower power consumption and can easily be powered through solar or wind energy generation systems and as a result the operational costs associated with their use are relatively low. This is one thing city administrators and managers are very interested in seeing given many cities budgetary short falls. However, these systems are only as good as their weakest link and in this case it is the LED’s themselves that make these systems second rate.
Nearly all LED bulb assemblies used in the US today have been in one respect or another manufactured in China which to date has proven through a multitude of quality issues on various products that these are no better. This technology has been plagued with quality issues ranging from poor power board quality failure rates as well as only being capable of producing suitable light for a maximum of 50,000 hours. Their use in traffic signal lights has resulted in failures in operational control of traffic at intersections in snow prone areas of the US due to lack of heat to prevent snow buildup in their fixtures. The standard work around for this problem was to install resistance based heating circuits to keep the fixtures above freezing temperatures in order to melt away any snow that might otherwise blind the fixtures lighting from oncoming drivers.
Considering these most basic problems it becomes easy to see why these systems should most certainly not be used in mission critical applications. The short term energy savings are giving way to frequent replacement costs and warranty issues which ultimately will be the death of these systems which would be far better used for minor outdoor property lighting of homes or lots. At least in this case their failure would not likely cause or contribute to any traffic accidents that could potentially cost someone their very life. There is new lighting technology which is certain to rise above that of the LED and offers far greater energy savings as well as greatly extended operational and warranty life. Induction lighting systems which are manufactured right here in the good old US of A have come to the forefront in every aspect and they have done so without any of the severe quality issues suffered by that of the LED.