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Report: Cities to Invest $64 Billion in LED And ‘Smart’ Streetlights By 2025

Image Credit: Flickr, meltedplastic

Rapidly falling costs and clear benefits have led to a sharp increase in the number and scale of light-emitting diode (LED) and smart streetlight projects in the past year, according to a new study published today by Northeast Group.

There currently are more than 2,000 LED and smart streetlight projects globally. By 2025, cities around the world will invest $64 billion in LED and “smart” streetlights.

With these infrastructure projects, cities and municipalities across the world modernize their streetlights with more efficient LED lights. They also are deploying sensors, communications and analytics software throughout their street lighting infrastructure and creating "smart cities." This is a key segment of the emerging "Internet of Things", the report says.

"With LEDs approaching cost parity with legacy streetlights, their energy and maintenance savings make the business case a no-brainer,” Ben Gardner, president of Northeast Group, said in a statement. “By 2025, LED and smart streetlights around the world will save 97,900 GWh annually, the equivalent of $12.9 billion in electricity costs per year. Smart street lighting will also pave the way for additional 'smart city' applications such as smart parking meters, environmental sensors and video monitoring."

Of the more than 2,000 current LED and smart streetlight projects across 90 countries, Northeast Group analyzed more than 800 projects. It found that cities are now undertaking larger-sized deployments. In just the past year, Madrid began the largest single-city project with 225,000 streetlights, Los Angeles announced it would network the 140,000 LED streetlights it recently deployed and the utility Florida Power & Light set plans to network 500,000 streetlights.

As deployments accelerate globally, diverse vendors are all competing for a piece of the growing market, the report says. Increasingly, partnerships between vendors across the value chain provide complete smart city solutions. Acuity, Bridgelux, Cooper, Cree, Echelon, Elster, GE, Itron, Osram, Philips, Schreder, Sensus, Silver Spring Networks and Toshiba are among the major vendors in the market.

Smart city technology revenue will grow from $8.8 billion annually worldwide in 2014 to $27.5 billion in 2023, as cities around the world adopt smart city technology to meet sustainability goals, boost local economies and improve services, according to a 2014 report by Navigant Research. Developments in areas such as wireless communications, sensor networks, geospatial analysis, mobile computing, data analytics and cloud computing are helping in the development of smart city technologies to address issues like energy management, water management, urban mobility, street lighting and public safety.

In the US, Cisco and officials in Kansas City last year signed a joint letter of intent (LOI) to establish smart street lighting and video surveillance, as well as provide digital interactive kiosks and mobile apps to boost citizens’ engagement. Cisco signed a similar agreement with the City of Hamburg in Germany.


Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a sustainability strategist and storyteller on Edelman's Business + Social Purpose team where he works with some of the world's leading brands on corporate sustainability strategy and stakeholder engagement. With several years of… [Read more about Mike Hower]