Energy Efficient Street Light Number 500,000 Installed in Australia

It's a special moment for councils around Australia with the 500,000th energy efficient street light installed. 

Light number 500,000 has been installed in the City of Campbelltown in the north-east suburbs of Adelaide, which is fitting given the pace of change and number of LEDs now being installed throughout South Australia due to co-operation between Councils and SA Power Networks, which manages and maintains about 200,000 street lights on behalf of councils and the state government. 

SA Power Networks began the changeover of 3,611 inefficient energy-guzzling lights for the City of Campbelltown in late August. With each new LED that is installed, Council saves a whopping 82% on electricity costs and greenhouse emissions. The new LEDs also see ongoing maintenance costs reduce and the savings to ratepayers over the life of the project are over $8.3 million. 

It’s a remarkable achievement from Campbelltown who have been working closely with neighbouring City of Unley on developing business cases and preparing for the project. Working together has saved councils further costs and ensured that lessons can be shared with each other and across the sector.

$8.3 Million Saving to the Community 

City of Campbelltown CEO Mr Paul Di lulio said that this was a watershed project for council. “This is council’s largest ever energy reduction project. As well and saving ratepayers over $8.3 million we’ll be reducing emissions by over 9,041 tonnes, which is the equivalent of taking 2,103 cars off the road per year or lighting 11,301 Australian homes”

“It’s great to be installing the 500,000th light. This is one of those projects that just makes sense. The LED technology also requires less maintenance than the old mercury vapour lights, provides higher light output and allows us to take advantage of future advances in technology such as smart city benefits like sensors, WiFi hotspots and traffic management”. 

Only Four Years Since the First Australian LED Bulk Changeover 

The half-a-million light milestone comes just over four years since the first LED bulk changeover in Australia in the City of Warrnambool on the Victorian south-west coast. Since then Australia has been leading the world with LED lighting projects with 19% of all lights changed over including 29% of all lights on residential (or local) roads. This outshines most of Europe, South-East Asia and North America.

Alexi Lynch, Business Manager at Ironbark Sustainability who are supporting Campbelltown, noted that Australia is leading the world in LED street lighting projects. “There are now 108 councils around Australia that have completed a changeover. These projects have saved communities hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted electricity costs and councils like Campbelltown ought to be congratulated”. 

While the Australian community have been caught up in the frustrations and cynicism of what’s happening at other levels of government, the wins at local levels are being celebrated. 

“This is what ‘real action on climate’ looks like on the ground; local communities reducing emissions and power bills. Across the country these LED projects now represent 3,369,077 tonnes in greenhouse emission reductions”, said Mr Lynch.

Relationships Still the Key

In 2015, there had been no LED changeovers in South Australia, which led the Cities of Charles Sturt, Marion and Onkaparinga to engage Australia’s street lighting experts Ironbark Sustainability to develop business cases and work with distribution business SA Power Networks to negotiate new LED tariffs and approved technology. 

“The last few years has seen a remarkable transformation in SA with councils hitting the ground running and there has been more action in that state than anywhere in Australian over the last 12 months,” Mr Lynch said.

“The key to getting a successful outcome has been the strong relationships built between councils and SA Power Networks, who own and operate the vast majority of street lights in South Australia.”

SA Power Networks have demonstrated vision, effort and customer-focus by meeting with councils on a regular on-going basis which has assisted in building relationships with councils. 

“It has all been about relationships developing trust along the way. These projects have only happened because we’ve wanted the same thing and have been prepared to work hard to get there”, said Mr Tom Walker, Manager Commercial Corporate Strategy, SA Power Networks.

Mr Walker spoke at the 6th annual Smart Lighting Summit in Melbourne on 11-12th September 2018, exploring SA Power Network’s journey smart lighting and smart city journey, and reflecting on the LED growth-spurt in South Australia over the past few years. In total, SA Power Networks has now installed about 50,000 LED lights for Councils in South Australia, or about a quarter of all the street lights in the State.

Who’s Next?

There is still a long way to go, with nearly two million inefficient lights still in use across Australia. But one by one they’re coming down saving councils and their communities millions of dollars and reducing greenhouse emissions. 

Given the old incumbent mercury vapour street lights use 5.6 times the electricity of LED alternatives and the projects pay themselves back in as little as four years, there are no more excuses for councils who haven’t made the switch. 


For more information, please contact the following.

Andrian Wiguna
General Manager Infrastructure Services
City of Campbelltown
0437 320 572

Alexi Lynch
Business Manager
Ironbark Sustainability
0407 381 344

Paul Roberts
Manager Corporate Affairs
SA Power Networks 
0403 582 500