We have tried to analyze the street the transformation of city street lighting in the blog below.
Ambimat Electronics with its experience of over 4 decades as an ODM of IoT products wishes to draw the attention of its customers and readers of blog posts towards the city street lighting market.
LED lighting and communication networks are transforming street lighting. As a consequence, city lighting networks are becoming the platform for a wide variety of smart city innovations. This vision of the city lighting network as a smart city platform is the next frontier for street lighting. Falling costs and improvements in quality are making LED lighting the default option as cities replace and upgrade existing lighting systems. LEDs can reduce energy consumption for street lighting by up to 50%, and as the price and the quality of LED lighting continue to improve, that appeal is growing. New York City, for example, expects $6 million annually in energy savings from replacing its 250,000 street lights with LEDs and a further $8 million in maintenance cost savings.
But installing LED lighting is only the first step. Many municipalities now realize that upgrading street lights also provides an excellent opportunity to install a lighting controls network. This network, in turn, offers cities an opportunity to deploy a range of solutions that can save money, keep residents safe, improve sustainability, and attract new people and businesses.
Connecting street lights together in a computer-controlled network opens the door to a wide range of innovative capabilities that save energy and improve the performance of the lighting system. Beyond those applications lie the broader possibilities for deploying non-lighting solutions on the lighting network, making it a ubiquitous platform for smart city applications. Enabling a connected network at the same time as upgrading to LED lighting also reduces overall costs and removes the need for a second installation program.
Industry and Market analysis
Northeast Group projects that globally 19.9 million LED streetlights will be deployed in 2019. In addition, 3.1 million streetlights will be networked or “smart.” These figures confirm that this continues to be a rapidly growing market.
Most cities and utilities networking streetlights are now doing so as part of larger “smart city” plans. In practice, no other use cases have been developed at scale so far. But cities can earn immediate savings now through smart street lighting while “future-proofing” their investments by deploying technology that can be later used for future smart city applications.
Street lighting currently accounts for up to 40% of many cities’ energy costs. This can be reduced by as much as 70% through LEDs and smart streetlights. Meanwhile, cities can earn revenue through attachment rights on their street lighting infrastructure, in many cases by selling space to local telecom operators for 4G and 5G small cells and related telecom equipment.
After years of steady decline, prices for LEDs have begun to bottom out, after roughly reaching parity with most legacy technologies. Meanwhile, in the past two years, prices for smart streetlight nodes have also fallen precipitously. These lower costs – which are not expected to fall much further – make the business case for LED and smart streetlights clear in most cities.
In the past year, there have been several large-scale project announcements, including multiple utilities in the US with hundreds of thousands of streetlights, dozens of medium-sized tenders in Europe, the first major projects in Latin America, and full conversions in places like Singapore. These projects ensure steady growth, but growth can accelerate further in the 2020s, particularly if more telecom operators get involved in the market through NB-IoT solutions.
LED streetlights are now the default in much of the world, with even India reaching over 30% penetration. But there remains ample room for growth. Many US cities do not have LED streetlight plans, while legacy inventory is stalling deployment in some countries. LED sales will, therefore, remain steady throughout the forecast period, averaging over 21 million lights per year.
There are hundreds of vendors in the smart streetlight market and new lower-cost LPWAN communications options are creating even further opportunities for market entrants. At the same time, some legacy vendors who had been early leaders – such as Echelon and Harvard Engineering – have now exited the market, demonstrating quickly evolving customer demands.
The over 303 million streetlights globally help form the backbone of the world’s cities, towns, and highways. Until recently, this corner of the municipal infrastructure market had largely been ignored, but streetlights are now viewed as a critical asset to unlocking billions of dollars in smart city potential. Previously viewed as a major cost– up to 40% of a city’s energy budget – streetlights are now viewed as a revenue opportunity. This is suddenly a dynamic market and forecasts the market for energy-efficient street lighting, streetlight networking, and additional smart city applications attached to streetlights.
As with any dynamic market, challenges remain. Cities must work both with utilities and regulators and between municipal departments to ensure that the benefits of smart streetlights are realized. Meanwhile, a rapidly evolving vendor landscape, including new technology options, highlights the importance of recently developed standards organizations. These challenges can partly mask what is a clear business case for most cities in the world, one that ensures cost savings, environmental benefits, and improved public safety. But these benefits are now increasingly becoming understood, which will lead LED and smart streetlights to reach a projected 85% and 24% of the total streetlight market, respectively, by 2028. This will total a $50.4 billion market opportunity over the next decade.
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