Residents living on two streets in Venice say they have the sun to thank for making their neighborhood a little bit brighter at night.
Victoria and Coeur d’Alene Avenues, both within the Presidents Row Neighborhood of Venice, are the two locations where new solar-powered streetlights have recently been installed as part of a pilot program of the Los Angeles City Bureau of Street Lighting.
The streetlights, which stand at 609 Victoria Ave. and 811 Coeur d’Alene Ave., are composed of a solar panel that collects energy from the sun during the day and a battery that stores the energy until it is used to power the lights between dusk and dawn each day, said Harris Levey, member of the Presidents Row Neighborhood Association in Venice.
“We can harness the power of the sun to light our streets and improve safety without using any other resources,” Levey said.
In the event that there is no sunlight on a certain day, the system’s battery has the capacity to store enough solar energy to power the lights for a few days.
The two Venice streets are currently the only residential locations in Los Angeles where a solar streetlight has been installed, said Norma Isahakian, city Bureau of Street Lighting assistant director. The only other location in Los Angeles with a functioning solar streetlight is on the San Fernando bicycle path, Isahakian said.
Six solar streetlights have been installed in the City of Santa Monica.
Members of the Venice Presidents Row Neighborhood Association say they worked for nearly four years to get the solar lights installed in their neighborhood and had the support of the office of former City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, whose office provided grant money for the program.
The residents praised the addition of the new lights to their street, calling them an improvement for safety.
“We are so happy with our light,” said Presidents Row Neighborhood Association member Lindsey Folsom, who lives on Victoria Avenue.
Folsom said she helped begin the effort to acquire the solar lights as a way to improve safety on neighborhood streets, particularly at night. Some residential streets in the area tend to be dark at night and residents wanted to brighten up the streets to make them safer, she said.
Levey said a main reason the streets are darker than many others is that Presidents Row isan old neighborhood of Venice, where streetlights are far apart.
Residents knew they wanted more streetlights, but instead of installing something that would use more electricity, they decided to take advantage of a source that is plentiful in Southern California — sunlight, Folsom said.
“Why not make use of a natural resource that we’ve got here?” Folsom said.
Solar streetlights not only make use of an alternative energy source but are also expected to be more cost-effective than electric lights, Levey said.
The solar lights are also cheaper to install and can lead to some environmental benefits, Isahakian said.
The lights were installed by two separate vendors, SOL (Solar Outdoor Lighting) for the Victoria Avenue site and BioProduct for the Coeur d’Alene site.
Isahakian said city streetlighting officials are pleased with how the Victoria Avenue light has been operating, but the Coeur d’Alene light has had difficulty staying on for as long the other.
City street lighting officials say they plan to study the effectiveness of the lights before considering installation at other parts of the city.
But Presidents Row Association members say they are confident that their neighborhood lights will serve as a benchmark for future solar street lighting projects in the city.