U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Building Technologies Office – Market-Based Programs

Financing Guidance for LED Street Lighting Programs

photo of an urban roadway at night lined with LED streetlights.

A number of available financing methods make LED streetlights a viable option for many municipalities today. Photo Credit: Los Angeles Bureau of Streetlighting

Financing an LED street lighting replacement program can present a hurdle for many system owners, even if the planned transition offers very favorable economics. Replacing the existing system requires a significant budget, particularly as the scope of the program increases. Cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle have invested many millions of dollars into their (very successful) LED street lighting replacement programs.

At the same time, LED street lighting is increasingly becoming recognized as a relatively low-risk investment that can pay big dividends in the form of energy and maintenance savings when correctly implemented. The recent emergence of myriad financial instruments, as well as financing companies offering to supply the associated funding, is testament to the favorable perspective taken on these investments.

The purpose of this section of the website is to offer a brief introduction to the various financing models and tools that are becoming available, to present case studies of municipalities that have used those tools, and to provide links to resources that offer additional information. These materials are not intended to be a complete tutorial on the various financing methods, nor to steer users in any particular direction; but, rather, to raise awareness of some of the different options available and identify sources for obtaining more information.