The Maryland Energy Administration has announced the second year of the fiscal 2023 Streetlight and Outdoor Lighting Efficiency grant program. With the focus on the installation of light-emitting diode fixtures on existing, outdoor, pole-mounted, user-owned lighting fixtures, the SOLE grant program serves state and local governments, public and private schools, community colleges and nonprofit organizations.

The fixtures eligible for MEA grant funds include those that illuminate streets, parking lots, pedestrian paths and athletic fields. Overall fiscal 2023 LED streetlight program funding is set at $1.8 million.

The SOLE program is derived from a fiscal 2022 pilot effort that engaged 11 grantees, including some in Howard County. The program concept was in response to community interest in upgrading outdoor lighting with more energy efficient and modern fixtures. Street lighting can represent as much as 40% of a municipality’s annual electric bill, according the MEA.

LED technology reduces this expense by using 50-70% less electricity to achieve lighting levels comparable to those provided by older, less efficient light fixtures. MEA’s program encourages innovations such as advanced lighting controls and the use of solar power.