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Brighter lights, less money
Manteca ready to retrofit municipal street lights
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The streets of Manteca will soon be a bit brighter at night thanks to lighting technology used extensively for years in Asia, Europe and Australia.

And in doing so, the city will save taxpayers $186,000 annually.

That is possible because the newer lighting has a significantly longer life span as well as reduced maintenance costs. The trade-off is the fact the lights are more expensive.

Other pluses include:

• Instant-on with no run-up or re-strike delays.

• improved night visibility due to higher color rendering, higher color temperature, and increased luminance uniformity.

• no mercury, lead, or other known disposable hazard.

The City Council Tuesday is expected to give final approval to proceed with the conversion of cobra head-style streetlights to induction fixtures to allow the installation of city-furnished induction street lights. Manteca has already acquired new induction lighting fixtures to replace most city street lights via $685,830 in federal grants.

The retrofit is being conducted by Republic ITS will cost the city $666,800. After factoring in anticipated PG&E rebates of $65,416 the net conversion cost for the city will come to $601,369.

The city anticipates annual electricity savings costs of $167,335 and annual maintenance savings of $19,392 for an annual savings of $186,416. That means the conversion costs will be paid back within 3.2 years. After that the city will avoid $186,000 in annual costs.

The city had originally planned to use existing staff to change the light fixtures to save money but cutbacks due to budgeting made it impossible to fit in the work.

Siemens Industry was hired to do a citywide energy audit and to make recommendations on how to reduce energy costs. The firm is doing an energy audit and inventory of the 4,800 existing street lights targeted for replacement to make it possible for Manteca to obtain rebates from PG&E of between $50 and $200 per light fixture that is changed out.

Siemens will develop specific proposals for other possible energy conservation strategies designed to save money after looking at the remaining decorative streetlights such as the ones downtown, parks lighting, water pumping, water meters, heating and air systems, wastewater systems and solar power generation.

City looking at solar power at treatment plant

The city is looking at ways to reduce Manteca’s $1.1 million annual electrical bill for the municipal wastewater treatment plant.

One possibility is the construction of a solar panel system that could cover up to 20 acres and cost $3.9 million to install. The consultant would explore how the city could use carbon tax credits to their advantage through how the project is financed in the private sector.

Preliminary data indicates the cost recovery of such an investment is expected to take six to seven years. That means if power prices do not change and use remains constant (both are anticipated to increase, though), the city could save up to $9 million in 15 years after recouping its original investment.

Funding for the solar project would be taken from fees collected monthly on residential and business sewer charges. The goal is to try and eliminate and/or minimize future rate increases because of rising power costs. Savings could also help offset increases in other parts of the plant’s operations such as chemical purchases.

A solar farm needed to help power the treatment plant could cover up to 20 acres. That would be about 40 percent the area of Woodard Park.