Outdoor Lighting Regulatory Resources

Street light retrofits often considered “low-hanging fruit” in pursuit of energy efficiency goals is still difficult to achieve in some areas due to multiple streetlight ownership, perceptions of new technology risks, and utility tariffs that have not kept up with the speed of technology developments. The following resources explain the utility rate making process and the LED conversion cost considerations from the municipal end user’s perspective as well as that of the electric utility company. Common approaches to working with utilities on a LED-based tariff are outlined in the Decision Tree Tool and several solution options are explained in the Outdoor Lighting and Solutions Pathway report. These resources are collected as part of the Outdoor Lighting Accelerator Toolkit.

    This brief focuses on regulatory barriers, which have proven to be widespread in the experience of Accelerator participants. The brief reviews the structure of street lighting tariffs and the costs and assumptions that underlie them. It then lays out pathways that municipalities can take to move street lighting retrofits forward in the presence of these barriers, including regulatory and legislative mechanisms. Along the way, the brief references cases of successes and challenges in pursuing these pathways.
    This brief discusses energy-efficient street lighting technologies and conversions from the utility’s perspective and identifies various business cases for undertaking street lighting upgrades. It reviews the costs and benefits of utility investment in energy efficiency technologies and smart infrastructure for utility-owned streetlights; presents lessons learned and best practices for LED conversions for utility-owned street lights; discusses street light buyback options from the utility’s perspective; and reviews success.


Education, Local Government, State Government


Identifying or evaluating energy-saving technologies

Tool type:



Lighting, Exterior