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Green light for LED: State certifies Torrance company's energy-efficient traffic signals

Posted 22-JUN-01

Torrance-based Ledtronics Inc. recently got a boost when the California Department of Transportation certified its energy-saving traffic light bulbs for use on California streets. The department approved the red and green Ledtronic lights to replace less energy-efficient lamps. The company is talking privately with various South Bay city governments interested in buying the lights, as well as customers nationwide. The city of Torrance is setting up test sites for the Ledtronics traffic and streetlights. "It's one of the credentials that most cities in California are looking for," said Gary Peterson, regional sales manager for Ledtronics, of the certification. Ledtronics lights are based on light emitting diode technology or LED. The lamps are composed of a group of small vessels that emit light individually -- the more vessels, the more light radiates. Ledtronics said it has not yet seen increased sales from certification. Once the transportation department posts Ledtronics on its Web site certification list, the company expects customer sales to increase. Ledtronic lights have the potential to substantially cut energy output and save cities 80 to 90 percent on electricity costs for traffic lights. The actual LED lights cost about the same as standard lights, but in the long run, the lights are more efficient. The traditional traffic light uses 70 to 90 watts per light, whereas LED lights use 7 to 10 watts. Ledtronics lights also are estimated to last up to 11 years. "The payback on the red-and- green lights are probably within 16 to 18 months," Peterson said. Ledtronics says the energy crisis has sparked interest in LED technology. "Inquiries are up at least 30 percent from last year," said Jordon Papanier, the marketing manager for Ledtronics. The company started out selling LEDs on a smaller scale for such applications as elevator lights and telephone panels. Since it was introduced in the early '80s, the technology has advanced so that it can be used for applications that require brighter lamps. Over the years, Ledtronics has used its products in many ways, including lighting the way for dogsleds, sidewalks and storefront signs. So far, the transportation department has not yet approved Ledtronics or any other LED technology's yellow traffic lights. Ledtronics plans to have its yellow lights approved soon.

 

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