Hybrid Street Lights are a First

The Village of Downers Grove announced today, March 22, 2010, the completion of the installation of a solar and wind powered street lighting system in the Prentiss Creek subdivision, near Woodward Avenue and Oxnard Street. This hybrid system is the first of its kind in a residential subdivision in the United States and saves money and results in a significant reduction in carbon emissions versus a conventional street lighting system. “This is a great example of staff responding to the needs of our residents with a highly innovative and cost-effective solution,” said Mayor Ron Sandack.

In August of 2008, the Prentiss Creek Homeowner’s Association (HOA) asked the Village to pursue means to bring street lights to the area. “After meeting with residents and hearing their hopes and concerns, we decided to look into a system powered by alternative energy,” said Public Works Director Naneil Newlon. The $282,500 project was partially funded through a 2009 Community Development Block Grant from the DuPage County Neighborhood Investment Program which covered 45% of the total cost.

The Village researched several types of solar-powered street lights and concluded the best fit for the region’s climate was a hybrid system that combined solar and wind energy, manufactured by King Luminaire Co., Inc., of Jefferson, Ohio. The residents of Prentiss Creek also provided input regarding this choice. “At first people were apprehensive because of the look of some of options, but the response to the final product has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Jack Reidy, president of the Prentiss Creek HOA .

The new hybrid street lights are designed to last for 100,000 hours, as opposed to those used in conventional systems which need replacing after just 10,000 hours. The impact to the neighborhood during installation, by Efston Science and Groundhog Utility Construction was minimal, as no trenching was necessary to install in-ground wiring. Over a period of thirty years, the 25 hybrid street lights will save over 500,000 kilowatts of electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by almost 350 tons, when compared to a conventional street light system.

The Village has received the Technical Innovation Award for the Hybrid Street Light Project from the American Public Works Association – Chicago Metro Chapter and Suburban Branch. This award category recognizes new and innovative applications of technology.

The Prentiss Creek Street Light Project is available on You Tube.