The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) announced its new Streetlight and Outdoor Lighting Efficiency (SOLE) Pilot program, intended to accelerate the conversion of outdoor pole-mounted lighting to LED technology. Grants will cover the cost of replacing older, less efficient pole-mounted fixtures used for street lighting, parking lots, parks, and other outdoor, pole-mounted lighting systems. The program will provide grants to eligible applicants, which include Maryland non-profit organizations, state agencies, local governments and incorporated cities, public and private schools, and community colleges. MEA anticipates disbursing a total of $2 million for these awards, which may be used to cover the cost of fixture acquisition and installation plus fees imposed by utilities directly required to complete the installation. MEA employs the U.S. State Energy Program (SEP) to maintain organizational capacity and leverages the proceeds of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) via Maryland’s Strategic Energy Investment Fund (SEIF).
The precursor to the SOLE program was the Municipal LED Streetlight Program. This technical support assistance effort helped stimulate demand and quality projects by providing technical support to local governments and municipalities to assess opportunities for replacement of inefficient streetlights with more energy efficient LEDS. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and supported by a team including the Virginia Department of Energy, Virginia Regional Commission, NASEO, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) and Clean Energy Solutions Inc. This precursor effort also led to the development of the region’s first comprehensive market study report on opportunities for LED Streetlight Conversions.