LED Streetlight Conversion & Smart City Project

Installs 5 7 2018
Streetlight installations as of September 25, 2018.  (Lights have also been installed on Great and Little Diamond Island, and Peaks Island.)  Each colored dot represents a new LED streetlight. 
This map will be updated regularly throughout the project.

Cobra Head Replacement

Installation of the cobra head lights -- the lights attached to wooden utility poles -- is largely complete.  Crews are reconciling the inventory provided by CMP with what exists in the field and making adjustments as necessary.  If you see an old style light that appears to have been forgotten please let us know.  We will determine whether it belongs to the City or to a private owner.

Lighting Controls

Project technicians have installed an advanced control network that will allow City staff to control the light output of each fixture.  It will allow the City to implement a dimming protocol that will reduce consumption of electricity and prevent light pollution.  The installation is complete on the mainland but technicians work to install two base stations on Peaks Island that will allow us to control the lights on Peaks Island, Great Diamond Island, and Little Diamond Island.  We plan to send a signal from Peaks to Cliff Island in order to control the lights there.  

If you have further questions please contact Troy Moon at thm@portlandmaine.gov.


LED lights consume a fraction of the electricity consumed by metal halide or high pressure sodium lights to produce an equivalent amount light. For example, this project will replace 75 watt metal halide bulbs with 30 watt LEDs. Doing so will reduce the City’s electricity consumption for street lighting by 2.7 million kWh per year! According to the EPA’s greenhouse gas calculator this offsets the burning of more than 4,600 barrels of oil. 

Implementing this project offers significant financial benefits to the City. Before purchasing the lights we paid Central Maine Power a monthly lease fee for each fixture in addition to the cost of electricity. This added up to about $1.2 million annually.  Purchasing the lights and switching to energy efficient LEDs will reduce this cost to about $150,000 per year -- a savings of over $1 million per year!  Even though the City will now be required to maintain the lights we don't expect this to be a significant cost because LED lights have very long lives and extremely low failure rates. (Each new streetlight comes with a 10 year warranty from the manufacturer.) The lighting control system will also help make maintenance efficient by alerting our staff immediately if there are any problems.

The Project

The project will roll out in two phases. The first phase will focus on replacing the cobra head street lights mounted on wooden utility poles and the implementation of select smart city technologies. The second phase will focus on updating the pedestrian scale lights such as those found lining the streets in the Old Port and implementing another round of smart city technologies.

The City conducted a competitive process in order to select a partner able to assist with the development and implementation of this work. After carefully reviewing proposals from seven firms, the City selected TEN Connected Solutions. Their lighting and technology experts have helped City staff develop specifications for the lighting equipment to be used in the project and have provided technical information to assist with the selection of the equipment. The City has brought in local lighting expert James Hebert of Colby Company Engineering to provide third party review of the project and provide independent analysis of the technical details.

In addition to Colby Company Engineering, other local firms participating in the project include:

Bernstein, Schur who provided legal advice regarding the the purchase of the street lighting equipment from CMP,

Casco Bay Electric and On Target whose crews will be replacing the existing street lighting equipment with new, City owned equipment,

Revision Energy who will be helping to design and build several electric vehicle charging stations across the City and,

Redzone Wireless who will be assisting with the design and construction of the public WiFi network.

Phase 1 Projects include:

Converting the lighting in the Elm Street Garage and the Spring Street Garage to LED

Purchasing the utility owned street lights from Central Maine Power

Replacing the formerly utility owned lights with LED street lights with advanced controls

Conducting pilot projects of LED lighting on pedestrian scale light poles

Exploring decorative lighting options for City Hall

Implementing select smart city technologies that may include public WiFi, electric vehicle charging, intelligent traffic signals in select intersections.

(Specific smart city projects are under evaluation by a team led by City Manager Jon Jennings.)

Phase 2 Projects include:

Converting lights on pedestrian scale poles to LED

Implementing additional smart city technologies that may include broader deployment of public WiFi, additional EV charging stations, environmental sensors to monitor air quality and noise levels throughout the City, additional deployment of intelligent traffic signals.

(Specific smart city projects are being evaluated by a team led by City Manager Jon Jennings.)

LED Streetlights

In collaboration with engineers from TCS and Colby Company Engineering, City staff evaluated streetlights submitted for review by Leotek, AEL, Cooper, Cree, and Affinity. Crews installed sample lights provided by each vendor on Casco St. and Cedar St. in order to view the light output from each unit in field conditions. Based on the field evaluation and the technical information provided by the manufacturers the City selected to install streetlights manufactured by Cree Lighting. These provided the best lighting quality and offer the greatest energy savings of all the models submitted. The lights installed with produce light at 3000K, which is a warm, yellow light similar to what comes from the high pressure sodium lights they will replace. This follows the recommendations of the American Medical Association.  The Cree RSW lights we have selected are certified "Dark Sky Approved" by the International Dark Skies Association.

Lighting Controls

The City is installing an advanced lighting control system by Echelon. This system will allow City staff to control the output of streetlights in order to conserve energy and reduce light pollution.  It will also alert staff to any problems or malfunctions within the light and allow crews to respond quickly.  Adopting this technology puts Portland at the forefront of municipal lighting technology.

Smart City Technologies

City Manager Jon Jennings is leading a team to identify a variety of smart city technologies designed to enhance service for city residents and visitors. Projects under consideration include public WiFi in parts of the City, intelligent traffic signals in select locations, EV charging stations, and environmental sensors that can provide information about noise levels and air quality. We’ll post details about the projects as they become available. Subscribe to this page to receive notifications when we update it.

Contact Troy Moon, Sustainability Coordinator, for more information.