Boaz, Alabama Mayor Tim Walker, along with state representatives and community leaders, cut the ribbon for the state's solar LED light pilot project. | Photo courtesy of Lionel Green, Sand Mountain Reporter.

A strip of new solar-powered light emitting-diode (LED) streetlights were in the spotlight last week as Boaz, Alabama, Mayor Tim Walker and other city officials celebrated the installation of a new street-lighting project.    

The new streetlights were installed with grant funds from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and $221,900 from the Energy Department through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program.

The EECBG funds made it possible for the city to replace 36 aging and outdated mercury vapor lights along U.S. Highway 431. The installation is part of a pilot program with the Alabama Department of Transportation to determine the feasibility of installing more LED lights, and if successful, Alabama hopes to retrofit additional street lamps with this new lighting technology.

The new lights are anticipated to save the city up to $7,000 per year and will reduce light pollution. The LED lights will direct more light downwards onto the highway rather than the night sky, making for a safer, more pleasant driving experience.

In addition to the new LED lights, 36 solar-wrapped poles were installed to power the lights. These poles will generate enough electricity to power the streetlights and will provide excess electricity the city can use to power its public buildings, helping to reduce its municipal operating costs.

At the ribbon cutting, Mayor Walker thanked everyone involved in making this project a success, saying, “It was through these efforts from many people that made this project possible. I want to invite everyone to come to Boaz and see the future of responsible highway lighting and power generation. Please know that the people of Boaz want to thank everyone.”