Public lighting


Several cities have implemented similar projects. Some pilot Models form different countries:

  • Solar street lighting in Balchik municipality, Bulgaria
  • SmartCity, Malaga
  • A small, yet very innovative model of ESCO contact in Italy: Montechiarugolo

Who needs to act?

The public authority is the initiator, while the action can be implemented under a Private-Public partnership, typically a ESCO scheme: a private operator invests in the "smart light" infrastructure, and returns from the investment by managing it for a number of years (maintenance + electricity). 

Who is affected?

Citizens, transport companies, transport providers, communities.


Deep renovation of old street lighting, to build an integrated platform for energy, data and smart services.

New high efficiency lights (LED) with advanced dimmering functions to adapt to actual traffic and minimize consumption. Upgraded electric infrastructure to support e-vehicles: several e-vehicle charging station installed at street lighting poles. IT infrastructure to provide public WiFi access points and support IoT (thousands of sensors connected to street lighting poles, vehicles and wearables).

Example: Balchik Municipality joined CoM and committed to go beyond the 20/20/20 targets. According to the municipal SEAP 20% of emissions come from street lights. In order for appropriate measures to be undertaken a photovoltaic street lighting construction on the Dambata coastal promenade was performed. It is a pilot project including installation of new street lighting system of PV-LED 68 street light poles with LED lamps. Each lamp has a power of 20 W, the total installed power is 1360 W. Photovoltaic charging station consists of 18 pieces polycrystalline photovoltaic panels with a power of 240 Wp. The total installed capacity is 4,32 kWp. The warranty period of photovoltaic panels is 25 years of LED lamps - 35,000 hours.

Example: SmartCity Malaga has made since its inception in 2009, the testbed for the introduction of Smart Grid technologies in the networks of medium and low voltage, in order to respond to these challenges and improve efficiency, safety, quality and sustainability of the electricity system. It is a living laboratory built on the actual distribution network that has developed and implemented features and much higher than the usual technologies.


The investment on public lighting and smart city infrastructure is generally high.

In Malaga, the investment has been promoted and financed by the CDTI and Endesa.

The pilot installation in Balchik required a small investment of 50,000 EUR. Type of costs:

  1. Human resources.
  2. ICT applications: equipment, measurement and monitoring devices, PV modules, specific software.
  3. Costs for measurement and monitoring.
  4. Costs for campaigning and dissemination activities.

May be financed under the ELENA-BEI scheme.

Return of investment

Return on the investment on improved energy efficiency of public lighting is generally 5-7 years, depending on the efficiency of the old system.

Investments on Smart services for mobility management should be paid by public authorities.

Other resources to be used

Existing public lighting and ICT infrastructure should be included in the project.

Available tools

There are several tools to support the adoption of efficient street lighting and smart city infrastructures, provided by private companies or non-profit organizations.

The most relevant tool is the SEAD Street Lighting Tool, a free, easy-to-use calculator that helps municipal officials make more informed procurement choices and alleviate some of the complexity involved in purchasing new street lighting products. “SEAD Street Lighting Tool” is provided by SEAD Initiative (the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment Initiative), a voluntary collaboration among governments working to promote the manufacture, purchase, and use of energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and equipment worldwide. SEAD is an initiative under the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) and a task of the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC), promoted by 17 Governments worldwide, including the European Commission – Directorate-General for Energy.


Main steps of implementation

  1. Set-up a multidisciplinary team, applying SIMPLA methodology
  2. Collect data on public lighting and ICT infrastructure, mobility and energy use
  3. define the main goals of the investment
  4. define the business model and funding (ESCO, ELENA BEI, ….)
  5. tender for public-private partnership (approx. 1 year)
  6. investment (approx. 1 year)
  7. new public lighting and smart city infrastructure at work - maintenance, monitoring and verification of savings and operation costs.

Expected results

Improved lighting, reduced energy consumption for lighting.
Smart mobility services and reduced congestion
Improved availability of WiFi connections and smart services.
Increased number of e-vehicle charging stations and consequently more electric vehicles on the road.
Example: the pilot installation in Balchik Municipality resulted in annual savings of 23 MWh of electricity and 47,3 t emissions CO2.

Example: in Malaga, the project resulted in an improved electricity distribution network, integration of e-vehicles with "It Smart Plugs" and gaining experience on existing equipment and innovative functionalities not yet on the market.

Contribution to SEAP & indicators

Reduce CO2 emissions, reducing energy. Increase use of renewable sources. Increase of energy and cost efficiency.

How to integrate in SEAP?

Can be included in a SEAP as an Action to reduce CO2 emissions.

Contribution to SUMP & indicators

Pollutants reduction (NOx, SOx, CO, etc.); enhanced intermodality; reduced number of vehicles in urban areas; improved sustainable accessibility to city centres.

How to integrate in SUMP?

The action fully corresponds with the SEAP goals and can be set as a measure.

Lessons learned

Application of energy measures using renewable source will significantly contribute to achieving the targets for energy and climate as set by the municipality. Such measures have strong replicability in other cities, regions, etc. as it explores local facilities and integrates local stakeholders.