The Changhua County Government has completed a Ministry of Economic Affairs order to replace 100,885 mercury-vapor lights with brighter and more energy-efficient LED lights, a local official said.
The ministry subsidized the full sum of NT$951 million (US$32.5 million) to replace the dimming mercury-vapor lights, which were installed 10 to 20 years ago, with LED lights, Changhua County Maintenance Division Director Chou Hsu-hung (周旭宏) said.
With the switch, the county expects to save 120 million kilowatt-hours per year, or the equivalent energy expenditure of 33,700 families, Chou said.
It also expects to save NT$180 million in power subsidies and reduce the burden on the national power grid, Chou said.
During the first phase of the two-phase project, the county received public complaints that the lights were too bright, too weak or only lit up a small area, he said.
The county investigated the complaints and found that the wattages used for the first-phase lights were based on 20-year-old reports, which elected to use maximum wattage instead of measuring power usage through actuarial calculations, Chou said.
The county factored the height of electricity poles and road width into its calculations during the second phase, resulting in greatly decreased light pollution, Chou added.
It also asked its contractors to adjust light angles or add hoods to first-phase lights for better illumination, he said.
Of the county’s 26 townships and cities, only Yuanlin City (員林) has not changed its lamps to LED lights.
The city was embroiled in a lawsuit with Taiwan Power Co at the time and missed the deadline for applying for the switch to LED lights, Chou said.
As such, its request for 15,000 LED lights was not included in the ministry subsidies, Chou said.
Several county residents said that they had never noticed how beautiful the township or cityscape was until the new lights were installed.
However, a Yongjing Township (永靖) resident surnamed Lee (李) said that there were still many sodium-vapor and mercury-vapor lamps around parts of the county.
Admiring the bright LED lights along Dashe S Road, Lee said she hoped the “illegal” lights around her residence would soon also be replaced by LED lights.
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