Fresno Needs Solar LED Street Lights

Fresno is a city of contrasts. Among the abundant ash trees that give Fresno its name is a rich history and culture. Located in the fertile San Joaquin Valley, Fresno county is agriculture-centric, boasting several year-round farmers markets in the downtown core, plus another dozen seasonal setups in nearby Fowler, Clovis, Kingsburg, and more.

The metro area offers an affordable cost of living, and residents can enjoy the monthly Art Hop, the fringe-style Rogue Festival, and the Big Fresno Fair, which helps link the agricultural side of Fresno with the urban. The city is also the closest major city to Yosemite National Park, which is about 60 miles to the north, and Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park are similar distances away, making this the perfect home base for desert adventures. The Fresno Chaffee Zoo and Woodward Park, featuring the authentic Shinzen Japanese Garden, offer outdoor activities closer to home.

Health care is a booming industry here, where the University of California, San Francisco, has its Fresno Medical Education Program. Meanwhile, the University of California, Merced, offers education on a LEED certified campus, showing the commitment here to sustainable building and energy.

Affordable and Sustainable Street Lighting

Unfortunately, poverty is a major issue in the San Joaquin Valley, with about 36% of Fresno residents living below the poverty line. With a limited tax base and uncertainty about the future, finding cost savings is a priority for developers and municipal planners. Solar LED street lighting is independent of the expensive power grid, offering long-term sustainability for all individual street lights, along with self-reliance from the utility company for the city managing them.

The semi-arid landscape here is a natural fit for renewable solar technology. The city averages 81% of the total possible sunlight hours for the year, some of which is lost due to fog rather than cloud cover. Fresno uses a unique system of citizen reporting, FresGO, which allows residents to help improve the community by reporting street light outages, traffic issues, potholes, and other problems online, and then watch as each ticket is reviewed and completed.

Replacing the current expensive street lighting with solar-powered LED street lights would, over time, save Fresno residents thousands of dollars each year on utility expenses. It would also go a long way to helping meet state and local climate change initiatives and commitments. In Fresno, street lights and park lighting offer opportunities for solar to enhance existing green initiatives for a similar initial cost to on-grid lights—and with long-term cost savings.

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