The City of Regina is considering installing solar LED lighting along pathways throughout the city.

The recommendation is for administration to start a pilot project to test the solar lighting. It would be a part of a five-year pilot project with conventional-power LED lighting being tested as well.

The idea stems from a motion passed on December 12, 2018, by City Council, to develop a project to test solar lighting on a portion of the City’s pathway system.

Administration is recommending the installation of 14 LED solar pathway lighting in Eastgate Park, along the Pilot Butte Creek Multi-Use Pathway, from Thomson Avenue to Dewdney Avenue. Those would be compared with 10 LED conventional power lights in Creekside Park, directly north of Eastgate Park, also along the Pilot Butte Creek Multi-Use Pathway from Dewdney Avenue to McVeety Drive.

"If they prove to be durable in our climate then they could be used in areas where it might be more difficult to run wire for conventional powered lights," Janine Daradich, Manager of Planning & Partnerships at the City of Regina

The lights would then be studied for five years to see which lighting is best for the area. The project would test the capital, operations and maintenance costs along with the performance and lighting levels provided by the LED’s. The five year timeline will also allow Administration to test the batteries’ long-term performance in Regina’s climate.

"Especially in areas in the city that are prone to floods, whether or not this might be a more sustainable option. One where there might be some underground infrastructure issues." Councilor Andrew Stevens said.

The City says both locations form part of the city’s multi-use pathway network and are major connectors that act as high-traffic links between adjacent neighbourhoods, nearby schools and recreation facilities and commercial areas.

Installing lights along the Creekside pathway will also add lighting to an area of the pathway system currently without lights.

Solar and conventional LED’s will also be installed at other locations in the city including, Toothill Park, A.E. Wilson Park, Stan Oxelgren Park, Bloos Park, Rae Park, Fines Drive Park, Creekside Park, Eastgate Park and Sangster Park.

The recommendation will now be discussed at the Community and Protective Services Committee meeting on Thursday. Following that, it would then go to Council on June 24 and if approved, would be implemented through the 2020 budget process.

The 14 solar lights at Eastgate Park would cost $6,380 each, $89,320 in total. The 10 conventional LED’s in Creekside Park would cost $6,940 each, $69,400 total. The conventional lights also use the conventional power source, which would cost $15,000 in Creekside Park.

Annual maintenance for the 14 solar lights would cost $92 per light each year, resulting in a total of $6,440 over five years. Maintenance for the 10 conventional lights would cost $37 per light a year, resulting in a total of $1,850 over five years.

But operations for the solar power lights cost nothing, while the conventional light operations would cost $1,000 over five years.

Solar does have some environmental impacts as well, as the batteries need to be replaced more often than components of a conventional power source. Solar batteries can also contain chemicals and heavy metals which pose a risk to the environment if not recycled properly.

If approved, any affected residents will be notified of the project construction schedule before any lighting is installed.