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A bright idea: LED streetlights cutting costs for Minnesota cities

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They last longer, reduce energy bills and look better.

That's how many cities in Minnesota are describing new LED streetlights.

The latest city to make the switch is Duluth, where 120 high-pressure sodium lights were replaced by LEDs in the first wave of installations.

About 300 LEDs are expected to be installed next year. The new lights will cost more than $200,000 up front, but the city says they'll pay for themselves in six years from savings on electricity bills.

The move comes after West St. Paul participated in the state's first community-wide test of LED streetlights. The installation of more than 500 streetlights was completed in January. As of October, the city was already seeing big energy savings.

“Other cities need to pay attention to this,’’ Mayor John Zanmiller told the Star Tribune. “This is the way it’s going, and we’re fortunate that we were the test lab.’’

Xcel Energy will use the information drawn from West St. Paul's experiment and use it establish an LED rate, the newspaper said.

Brooklyn Park also followed suit and has seen their energy costs cut in half, KSTP reported. Eden Prairie, Chanhassen and Monticello are also giving LEDs a test-run.

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