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Innovative LED Streetlight Replacement RFP
The City of San José has approximately 40,000 outdated streetlights. We’d love to replace them with brighter, whiter, energy-efficient LED lights with “smart” controller units.

Our challenge (to be frank): money.

Converting these lights will cost around $32 million. So we’ve decided to get creative and turn this challenge into a big opportunity.

We’ve got a variety of valuable assets—land, potential telecomm sites, buildings, conduit, recycled water, golf courses, and much more—and we’re inviting you to be creative.

On August 3, 2015 we released the Innovative LED Streetlight RFP. This is an opportunity for private sector partners to partner with the City and make it possible to convert our 40,000 streetlights. (We’ve seen great results with 23,000 we’ve installed so far, including lower energy bills and enhanced neighborhood safety. Residents love the new streetlights and are clamoring for the lights to be installed.)

What kind of partnerships are possible? Honestly, the sky is the limit.

Our assets include:
  • Real estate that could be leased or developed; 
  • Sites that could be used by the telecommunications industry for small-cell technology; 
  • Facilities that could be reused or repurposed; 
  • Buildings or properties—such as an animal shelter, playground, or community room—that could be named in honor or recognition of a person or entity; 
  • Some existing conduit that could be used for fiber or the potential to build new;
  • And many more additional opportunities for partnership. 

The City is not limiting responses to any particular type of partnership (i.e. telecommunications, naming rights, etc.). However, the City is not simply seeking a financing mechanism to convert the remaining streetlights.
You can:
  • Install new lights and controller units in one or more zones of the City (approximately 7,000 to 11,000 lights per zone), or 
  • Make an in-lieu cash payment (minimum of $2 million) for the City to do the installation.

Read the RFP document to learn more about this opportunity. 


BACKGROUND ON SAN JOSE STREETLIGHTS

Since adopting its Green Vision in 2007, San José has been on the cutting edge of streetlight innovation, partnering with industry to pilot new designs for LED streetlights. The City has been replacing its old sodium vapor lights with LED streetlights that are more energy-efficient, longer-lasting and that can be programmed to optimize energy consumption, monitor and report energy consumption, protect the night sky, as well as produce minimal to no hazardous waste upon disposal.

The City completed the majority of the initial conversions with grant funds and through demonstration partnerships, ESCO partnerships, or other mechanisms that required minimal capital outlay on the City’s part.

In addition to the obvious energy savings, the conversion of the existing sodium-vapor and metal halide lightheads to LED lightheads has yielded other benefits.The LED lightheads produce a brighter, whiter light than the more yellow hues of the existing lightheads. The LED lightheads cast light downward and their dedicated control systems allow the lights to be dimmed, resulting in less light pollution in the night sky.

Light pollution is critical in San José because of the cutting edge research scientists from UC-Santa Cruz are conducting at Lick Observatory atop Mt. Hamilton overlooking the city.

The City previously collaborated with Lick Observatory during the energy crisis of the 1970s when it updated streetlights citywide to sodium vapor lights. City leaders chose amber-colored low-pressure sodium lights that were observatory-friendly everywhere except Downtown and a few exempt areas.

In the years since, residents and businesses have raised concerns with color-recognition and perceptions of safety and dimness.

The new LED lights address those concerns, providing a bright white light, much like moonglow.

The smart controller systems can be programmed to dim during late night hours. The control system can signal when a light is taken offline, expediting repairs and allowing staff to respond more quickly to incidents of copper wire theft.

Of the 63,000 streetlights in the City of San José, one-third have or will be converted by Summer 2015.

We look forward to innovative partners joining with the City to complete the remaining 40,000 lights!

Key Dates -- UPDATED 1/20/16

The RFP was released August 3, 2015. Phase 1 responses were due no later than 5 p.m. on November 30, 2015.
Proposers from Phase 1 will be invited to submit full proposals in Phase 2 by February 12, 2016.

Proposer(s) are expected to complete installation of all lights and controller units by Dec. 31, 2018.

Key dates for Bid Process: 
8/3/2015 RFP Released
8/26/2015 Pre-Proposal Conference
10/16/2015 Deadline for Objections and Questions
11/3/2015 City’s Response to Written Questions
11/30/2015 Phase 1 Conceptual Proposals Due by 5 p.m.
1/8/2016 City Notifies Successful Proposers
2/29/2016 Phase 2, Full Proposals & Samples Due by 5 p.m. (invited proposers only) NEW

Designated RFP Contact

For more information, please contact:
Teri Killgore, Assistant to the City Manager
408-535-8102 or

Please Note: During the RFP process, proposers and their representatives, legal counsel, and/or lobbyists may only contact the designated RFP contact (above).  


Rules on Lobbying/Outreach to City Officials

San Jose has strict process integrity guidelines for its procurement process. Don’t jeopardize your chances of partnering with us by violating these requirements. 

From the moment the RFP is released on August 3, 2015 until the announcement of selected partners is made, do not talk about your proposal with ANYONE from the City other than the designated RFP contact.

These rules apply to the proposer, their representatives, their attorneys, their lobbyists, etc. 

Conversations, phone calls, emails, or other contact with City staff (other than the RFP contact), including the Mayor or City Council, or members of their staffs during the RFP process are not allowed. Such communications are a violation of the City of San Jose’s "Procurement and Contract Process Integrity and Conflict of Interest" and can result in disqualification or debarment.

Please review the guidelines and share them with your staff, legal counsel, lobbyists, and other representatives. 



FAQs Innovative LED Streetlight RFP

Where are the 40,000 lights?
The 40,000 streetlights are divided into four zones:
  • Central San José 11,090 lights
  • North-East San José 10,780 lights
  • South San José 10,280 lights
  • West San José 7,135 lights

Proposers may choose to install lights in one or more of the four zones. A map of the approximately 40,000 remaining lights is available here.

I’m interested in some locations in each zone. Is it possible to shape the proposal that way?
No. Proposers must propose to install streetlights in an entire zone. For proposers unable to complete an entire zone, please review the in lieu payment option.

What is your timeline?

Proposer(s) are expected to complete installation of all lights and controller units by Dec. 31, 2018.


Are Specifications available for the existing streetlights?

San Jose has been a pioneer in piloting LED streetlights. Specifications for lightheads and controller units are available here.
Please note: Controller units must communicate and interoperate with the City’s existing LED streetlights, or the proposer must include an interoperability solution. Power usage must comply with PG&E restrictions on use of electricity at the streetlight.

Can I propose something different from the Specifications for the existing lights or controller units?

It’s possible, but controller units must communicate and interoperate with the City’s existing LED streetlights, or the proposer must include an interoperability solution.

Can I attach my product to the lightpole?

It’s possible, but please note that power usage must comply with PG&E restrictions on use of electricity at the streetlight.

How do I submit a proposal?

The LED Streetlights RFP may be downloaded from the BidSync e-Procurement system

Who is eligible to submit a proposal?

Proposers need to:
  1. Install (or collaborate with or hire an installation partner who can install) streetlights and controller units in at least one of four zones in the city by Dec. 31, 2018. See the zones here. OR
  2. Make an lieu payment for the City to do the installation (minimum payment is $2 million) 

Please review the RFP document for the full list of Minimum Qualifications.

What can I propose?

Just about anything*. The City is not limiting responses to any particular type of partnership (i.e. telecommunications, naming rights, etc.). Projects will be reviewed for value, practicality, benefit or impact to the City, and other factors.

*Please note, the City is not simply seeking a financing mechanism to convert the remaining streetlights, nor is this a procurement for the City to directly purchase streetlights and installations. Proposals for financing mechanisms or direct procurement will be disqualified.

Please review the RFP document for the full list of factors that will be considered.

Can the streetlight control units be meters for PG&E?

That is something the proposer would need to work out with PG&E. The decision about meters is not in the City’s hands. Please read Appendix 6, PG&E report requirements.

Is the City open to ongoing management of the lighting network as a part of any agreement?

It’s possible, however, proposals that simply rely on energy savings, City funding, or financing arrangements to convert the remaining streetlights will not meet the project goals.

What is the caliber of the City’s fiber network, including areas of coverage and density? Is there a map available?

Availability of City of San José fiber is limited. Proposers should not assume availability of City-supplied backhaul. It may be that some proposals include options for expanding the fiber network.

Who makes the final decision?

First, all proposals will be evaluated to determine if technical qualifications for lightheads and controllers meet City standards.

Proposals that fail to meet technical qualifications will be disqualified from further consideration.

Then RFP responses will be evaluated and scored by a panel of experts. The City may seek written clarification, demonstrations or technical tests, or oral presentations. The City may hold a Best and Final Offer (BAFO) with finalists that have scored in the competitive range if additional information or clarification is necessary in order to make a final decision.

Ultimately, the City Council votes on the award of a final contract.

Note: During the RFP process, proposers and their representatives, legal counsel, and/or lobbyists may only contact the designated RFP contact. Conversations, phone calls, emails, or other contact with City staff (other than the RFP contact), including the Mayor or City Council, or members of their staffs during the RFP process is a violation of the City of San Jose’s "Procurement and Contract Process Integrity and Conflict of Interest" and can result in disqualification or debarment. Please review the guidelines.