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Green Light

Year-old Teslights LED lighting company can join PG&E rebate program

Teslights, a year-old LED lighting company in Santa Rosa, has received approval to join a new PG&E rebate program for its business customers.

The company, with its own manufacturing plant in China, sells lights that use less electricity than either indoor fluorescent lighting or the “metal halide” lamps often found above parking lots.

The LED fixtures can be dimmed as needed, and the indoor light is typically available in three different color temperatures.

“The quality of light and the savings in the electric bill are so huge,” said Marc Kelley. Teslights’ sales director.

For example, a 32-watt fluorescent light for offices can be replaced with 12- or 15-watt LED light, Kelley said, cutting the energy use by at least half. A 400-watt metal halide light can be replaced with a 120-watt LED light.

The lights come with a five-year guarantee, he said. The energy savings typically pay for the fixtures and installation within two years.

LED, which stands for light emitting diodes, uses semiconductors to convert electricity into visible light. A typical office fixture features a string of eighth-inch square lights coated with yellow phosphorous, which controls the color intensity.

The Energy Alliance Association, a Santa Rosa company that helps businesses and nonprofits save energy and receive utility rebates for upgrades, worked on its first LED project a few years ago.

“It’s still pretty new but it’s really catching on,” said Katie Moore, an owner of the 13-year-old business.

Motorists traveling Highway 101 at night in Santa Rosa can compare the difference in the sharpness and brightness of LED lights versus old technology in the parking lots of auto dealerships along Corby Avenue’s Auto Row, she said.

“The ones that have done an upgrade look a lot nicer,” Moore said.

Teslights is owned by Fernando Cancela, a Santa Rosan who has worked in the LED business for over four years, Kelley said.

The company owns roughly 90 percent of the manufacturing plant near Hong Kong in Shenzhen, China. It has distributors in Florida and Tennessee and is building assembly facilities in Argentina and Brazil.

Its smart controllers are manufactured by a Spanish company but branded with the Teslights label.

About six months ago Teslights received approval for some products to join a Pacific Gas & Electricity’s rebate program. Then last month it gained eligibility for a new rebate program begun last fall by the utility. Of note, the new rebate pays nearly all the cost for some of the company’s lights, Kelley said.

Santa Rosa architect Jerry Tierney last fall had Teslights replace metal halide parking lot lights in his neighborhood shopping center on Russell Avenue near Cleveland Avenue.

Tierney expressed confidence the switch to LED has resulted in cutting the energy use in half for lighting up the parking lot all night long.

He said he’s even happier that he won’t be paying for maintenance for five years, adding that the old lights were expensive to buy and involved an electrician’s time for their replacement.

“It was a pretty hefty sum,” he recalled.

Moore said her company, which offers no-cost reports on potential energy savings, works impartially with a variety of lighting businesses and contractors in order to provide clients “the best bang for the buck.”

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