Daily profle – Old versus new
Old method of using
sun up/down would mean
full load as of 19: 30.
Using monitoring the full
load comes on at 21:00.
conference | STREET & AREA LIGHTING
paying for full load for 90 minutes more than
in the case with metering and controls.
Florida Power and Light
As you quickly learn at a conference like SALC,
however, every utility or municipality has a
slightly different idea about the value of networks and even LEDs. For Florida Power and
Light (FPL), the motivation of their controls
project is primarily automating the maintenance process and proactively preventing
the impact of failed street lights. Joe Hancock,
streetlight restoration leader and a lighting
products engineer at FPL, said, “We’ve got
the largest controls initiative in the world
today.” The Miami-area project has been
expanded to eventually cover 500,000 lights
( http://bit.ly/1SIdTkj). But Hancock made
it clear that it was not an LED project but
rather restoration with an HID embedded
FPL is installing LEDs in some instances,
especially when a customer requests them.
But the announced networking project
involves installing a network controller on
the existing lights that span ownership by
private customers, multiple municipalities,
and the utility. And Hancock said emphatically dimming is off in the future and will be
driven by regulations.
Goals and expectations
The near-term goal is the automatic detec-
tion of failed lights. Hancock said, “Street
lights are the last piece of equipment that
we own that people have to tell us is not
working.” The goal is getting an automatic
notification of failures before the customer
calls and to automate the service process.
When FPL retrofits a pole with the net-
work controller, the crew uses an iPad to
enter all of the pertinent data about the
luminaire and the pole, including the type of
pole, underground or overhead wiring, type
of armature, and more. Moreover, the crew
photographs the installed luminaire and
uses the i Pad to record the GPS coordinates
of the pole. Hancock said each retrofit takes
3–5 minutes, although Fitzmaurice of Geor-
gia Power would later question that timing.
Thus far, FPL has installed 75,000 network
nodes. Hancock said FPL is realizing the automatic detection and failures, and even uses
voltage and power monitoring to discover some
problems before the luminaire goes fully dark.
For now, FPL is using GIS (geographic information system) technology to store the data.
The utility has yet to build out a CMS. FPL is
planning a CMS based on the TALQ Consortium protocols. See our feature on TALQ for
more information on that protocol (http://bit.
ly/1IE0Xkp). The FPL CMS will be required for
remote on and off control and dimming.
The drive for a CMS is in part coming from
a unique perspective. Hitendra Savdas, IT
project manager for the FPL smart light initiative, joined Hancock on stage. Savadas
said FPL has more than 700 lights that have
to be turned off for turtle nesting areas. At
a minimum, that operation would require
1500 crew visits annually, and if a mistake
is made it impacts two poles: the one turned
off inappropriately and the one that is sup-
posed to be off but is still on. The CMS will
ultimately fully automate that process.
Despite what was a mostly optimistic presentation, there was a caveat brought forward by Hancock. He said analysis shows that
nothing the city is doing or is planning to do
with the lighting network can generate financial savings or new revenue that can pay for
the installation of a network infrastructure.
Fortunately, FPL had already installed a mesh
network that covers 5 million meters of roadway when it installed wireless power meters.
The utility was able to piggyback the lighting onto that network; other wise, it would not
have been able to proceed.
Hancock did offer other advice to utilities
facing such a project. He said proponents
should remind company executives about
the value of good customer relationships. In
Florida, customer dissatisfaction with the
street-light performance was the biggest
complaint to municipalities in the area. The
FPL executives supported the network project in the face of the costs, believing that it
would build customer relationships.
Moving beyond SSL networks, let’s get
down and dirty and discuss the prevailing
thoughts at SALC that LED luminaires will
require periodic service, even if the LEDs
and driver electronics are working perfectly. Indeed, dirt depreciation will require
street and roadway lighting owners to clean
the accumulated dirt and grime. Professor
Ron Gibbons, director of the Center for
Infrastructure Based Safety Systems at
the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
(VTTI), has been conducting research
focused on studying dirt depreciation over
time and on luminaire cleaning methods.
Gibbons said lumen dirt depreciation
(LDD) is the most significant element that
contributes to light loss factor (LLF) over
time. Other elements, including lumen
depreciation and exposure to temperature
swings, contribute far less to LLF during the
rated operational life of an LED luminaire
The street-lighting technology sector
developed LLF curves for high-pressure
sodium (HPS) long ago. But Gibbons said
those old rules no longer apply to LED-based products. Gibbon said, “We’re look-
FIG. 3. Meters integrated into networked LED street lights can enable more accurate
electricity billing for street-light owners, saving money even relative to situations
where there is an LED-specific, fixed-rate tariff, according to Enersource.