West St. Paul will soon be alight with whiter, brighter streetlights.
Last week, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) gave Xcel Energy approval to install 529 LED streetlights in the city as a two-year test. The company had told the city it would start installation this year.
Most Minnesota cities hire Xcel to handle their street lighting. The results of the test could lead other cities to switch to the energy-saving lights. The test will allow the company to gather information on how much they cost to install, how they perform and how long they last, factors that will help Xcel determine how much to charge cities that use them.
LED lights -- short for light-emitting diode -- are more expensive than traditional streetlights but last longer, use less energy, need less maintenance and provide better night visibility.
The citywide test in West St. Paul will be the largest installation of such streetlights in the state. Robert Street is the only street that won't get the new lights.