Green Park and Fonroche Lighting America Build Safety With Autonomous Solar Lighting
Green Park, a suburb of St. Louis, has a lot going for it. It offers a rural setting, great schools and a lot of parks and trails. But until recently, many neighborhoods did not have adequate street lighting. Alderman Michael Broughton of Ward 1 took it upon himself to address this issue, leading to an initiative that will see streetlights installed at most intersections in the city by next spring. The town has already installed 35 autonomous solar street lights from Fonroche Lighting America.
Alderman Broughton’s motivation stemmed from personal experience navigating Green Park’s older, unlit residential streets. The absence of identifiable landmarks made intersections easy to overlook, posing a significant risk, especially on streets devoid of sidewalks where pedestrians, strolling or walking their dogs, were particularly vulnerable.
To address this concern, Alderman Broughton initially explored the possibility of installing traditional electrified street lights. However, the prohibitive cost of lights and associated infrastructure, coupled with the unappealing prospect of overhead wires, made this option impractical. Determined to find a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing solution, Broughton and his wife turned their attention to solar powered street lights.
After a presentation by Alderman Broughton, the board enlisted City Staff to conduct thorough research. After evaluating three candidates, Fonroche Lighting America was the preferred choice. Board members liked the clean, unobtrusive design, long battery life, swappable power centers, and programmable light levels.
Taking a cautious approach, the board initiated a pilot phase, installing a dozen lights for evaluation in Ward 1. Following a successful trial, an additional 23 lights were installed in the fall, with the final phase scheduled for completion in spring 2024.
“The whole thing was simple after we got the officials on board,” remarked Broughton, describing the straightforward installation process. After boring four-foot holes, the poles were securely set and backfilled with gravel. The process, including reseeding the grass, was completed in just a few days.
Addressing concerns about light pollution and intrusive bedroom lighting, Broughton highlighted the benefits of Fonroche’s dark-sky-friendly fixtures. Contrary to fears of glaring HID parking lot lights, residents found the illumination “comfortable,” guiding the way without encroaching on homes or causing unwanted glare.
As the project nears completion, Alderman Broughton believes that the solar led lighting will go a long way toward avoiding preventable accidents and making Green Park’s neighborhoods safer.