NextGen Illumination Targets Cities for LED Retrofits

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 12:00 am  

An Arkansas lighting company is looking to gain municipal clients by offering a special no-money-down financial plan for converting cities’ lighting infrastructure to an energy-efficient model.

NextGen Illumination Inc. of Fayetteville was established in April 2008 and makes solid state lighting, which generally consists of LED bulbs.

LED lighting typically lasts several times longer and uses less energy than traditional modes, making it desirable for towns and cities with big electric bills.

For example, NextGen is currently installing 46 LED heads at a parking lot at Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville; 42 had previously been installed there.

Steven Hinds, a spokesman for the college, said the lights save the college about $160 per fixture annually, so once all 88 lights are installed, the college is expected to save $225,000 over about 13 years, the expected life of each head. Energy expense is reduced by about 70 percent, and each 128-watt LED replaces a 460-watt bulb.

“We feel like these lights are far superior,” Hinds said.

Because of the superior quality of LED lights, government entities like the Arkansas Public Service Commission have been working to persuade municipalities to make the switch by way of endorsements from utilities and incentives.

“The commission has improved energy-efficient programs and is encouraging energy-efficient programs, and has for several years,” said John Bethel, executive director of the PSC. “There are programs where customers can receive incentives or rebates associated with light, including LED lighting. Municipal lighting programs are a part of those energy-efficiency programs.”

But there’s still one big problem: While LED lights save lots of money over time, they can be quite expensive up front.

A small-scale example: A four-pack of 60-watt General Electric light bulbs costs about $5. A single General Electric LED bulb to replace a 60-watt incandescent costs about $24.

Here’s where NextGen has taken the initiative. This year, it will begin a financing plan that will let cities install a new lighting infrastructure without any upfront cost.

A bit of background: The company traditionally has targeted the commercial and industrial agriculture industries, particularly in the poultry sector.



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