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The global installation of smart street lights is expected to go through tremendous growth over the next decade, according to a new report from Navigant Research, up from an install base of 6.3 million in 2017 to nearly 73 million in 2026. 

Energy Efficiency

Smart Street Lighting To Reach 73 Million Installed Units By 2026

The global installation of smart street lights is expected to go through tremendous growth over the next decade, according to a new report from Navigant Research, up from an install base of 6.3 million in 2017 to nearly 73 million in 2026. 

The global installation of smart street lights is expected to go through tremendous growth over the next decade, according to a new report from Navigant Research, up from an install base of 6.3 million in 2017 to nearly 73 million in 2026.

Published this week by clean technology analyst company Navigant Research, the new report, Smart Street Lighting for Smart Cities, analyzes the evolution of smart street lighting technology and market trends across the globe, and provides a forecast for the future development and spread of the technology. The report concludes that LEDs are now the standard replacement for legacy street lighting in most cities around the world, and smart controls are beginning to become more widespread and, according to Navigant, “are increasingly installed alongside LED deployments.”

Many cities around the globe are likely in and have been in a lengthy process of replacing existing street lighting with new, more efficient lighting — not just to meet energy efficiency standards, but because the economics makes sense. LEDs are obviously the most obvious option, but the new Navigant report explains that smart controls only currently account for 2% of the installed base of street lighting in 2017, and is “not being adequately exploited.”

However, that is likely to change, according to the report, with the installed base of smart street lighting expected to grow from its current level of only 6.3 million worldwide, to an impressive 73 million by 2026.

“With LEDs established as the technology of choice for street lighting upgrades, the next frontier for smart street lighting networks involves rapidly increasing deployments of controls technology and a transition to being utilized as a broader platform for smart city innovations,” said Ryan Citron, research analyst at Navigant Research. “Sensors and other technologies are being added to smart street lighting networks to offer a multitude of new city services, including gunshot detection, air quality monitoring, electric vehicle (EV) charging, traffic management, and smart parking, among others.”

Obviously, there are many driving factors behind the current economy of smart street lighting. Widespread acceptance of LED lighting has been driven by significant cost declines and improvements in lighting quality — a surprisingly misunderstood development, with LEDs reaching a point where they can now provide the necessary yellow-lighting necessary for street lights. A year ago, Cree highlighted this need with the introduction of new RSW LED Street Luminaire lighting system, the first of a new generation of lighting which is not only energy efficiency but provided the warm color temperature most needed for street lighting.

“Cree is committed to providing better light experiences by continuing to unlock the true potential of LED technology,” said Norbert Hiller, executive vice president of lighting at Cree, at the time. “Cree’s RSW Series ensures residents will no longer have to live with the glare of street lights in their homes at night, saving municipalities time and energy while reducing resources allocated to managing residential complaints about harsh street lighting.”

The Navigant report explains that installing smart controls is cheapest when done in conjunction with new LED installations, which explains why the adoption of smart controls is still lagging behind, somewhat. But smart street lighting could be a vital tool for cities looking to adapt to future energy efficiency requirements. But there are unsurprisingly still several barriers. Navigant Research highlights these concerns: “Easing citizen concerns about surveillance and privacy intrusions, the legacy street light ownership model still present in some jurisdictions, departmental siloes, the complexity of multi-application projects, and the need to raise upfront capital are all challenges for the smart street lighting market.”

Looking forward, Navigant predicts that Europe will have the largest installed base of smart street lighting of any region, followed by Asia Pacific and North America. The share of smart street lighting is expected to grow from 2% of the installed base of all street lighting in 2017 up to just over 20% by 2026. Navigant also predicts that the global market for smart street lighting will be worth $610 million in 2017, and grow to $6.9 billion in 2026.

Annual Smart Street Lighting Revenue by Region, World Markets: 2017-2026

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