Street Light Goes Green - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Street Light Goes Green

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YAKIMA--What's working in Yakima to go green, light up the night, and save money?

This solar-powered street light gives some light to what was a very dark intersection, and saves the city thousands of dollars.

People living near the intersection of 66th Ave. and Scenic Dr. have been asking for a street light for years.  If you go there at night, you can see why.  Now having a dog isn't the only safety precaution.

"I don't do a lot of walking but as far as a driver, it lights up the intersection so I can see the pedestrians coming through," Les Zirkle said.

Solar panels power lots of smaller traffic lights, but this is the first night light.

"I think it's great," Zirkle said.  "I think there should be more of it, as long as it's a cost-efficient venture."

The city will save about $100 a year compared to an electrical light, but that's not where going green saves the most green.

"This is an option that allows us to put streetlights into locations where the installation costs would have been extremely high," Yakima Traffic Supervisor Rich Dwyer said.

Dwyer said connecting these power lines to a new light across the street would cost about $10,000.   Compare that to the solar panel and light, which cost about $6500 to install.

There hasn't been much sunshine for the panel to soak up since it was installed in January.   A few nights it didn't even come on, but here in Yakima that's bound to change.

"It should work every single night during the summer time," Dwyer said.  "We're the Palm Springs of Washington, we have a lot of sunshine from about March to November."

More solar lights will go up as the money becomes available.

Neighbors at the other end of Scenic Drive have been asking for a street light.  That may be the next spot for a solar powered light.