Andy Kim is a former GOVERNING staff writer.
A neighborhood in Illinois has self-contained, hybrid-powered streetlights that don't even need to be connected to the power grid.
A hybrid-powered streetlight system, the first of its kind in a residential community, was recently installed in a Downers Grove, Illinois neighborhood. The 25 streetlights are all self-contained and use a combination of solar, wind and battery power to light the LED bulbs. Unlike conventional streetlights which need replacing after 10,000 hours of use, these lights are designed to last for about 100,000 hours. Because of the lights' self-contained power, no trenching was needed to route in-ground wiring during the installation of the lighting system. When compared to a conventional streetlight system, this hybrid system is estimated to save over 500,000 kilowatts of electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by almost 350 tons over a 30-year period. Almost half of the $282,500 project was funded through a 2009 Community Development Block Grant from the DuPage County Neighborhood Investment Program. To find out more, check out a video produced by Downers Grove officials (jump to 1:33 to hear the project manager discuss details about the streetlights). (Photo: The Village of Downers Grove).