Experience that’s light years ahead

Our history spans from Tampa’s first streetlight to sleek, solar, smart lights.

Tampa Electric installed downtown Tampa’s first electric streetlight in 1887. People from all parts of town came to Franklin Street to witness the awe-inspiring “light show.” The Tampa Journal newspaper reported: “The amazed throng could hardly believe that the stygian darkness could be dispelled so miraculously by current coming through a wire.”

photo of vintage arc light
An arc streetlight similar to downtown Tampa’s first.

Today, we’re light years ahead of that first “miraculous” streetlight in our experience and our expertise. We no longer attract throngs of amazed residents, but we do create some buzz with our high-tech lighting solutions offered through our Bright Choices program.

In fact, we feel as if we’re just getting started!

Far from the sputtering and hissing streetlights of the 1880s, we now use only energy-efficient “light-emitting diodes” – better known as LEDs. LEDs use less energy, last longer, provide superior light quality and contain no harmful chemicals. Each light includes a smart photocell to automatically alert us if the light goes out or a malfunction occurs. For our customers, that means faster repairs. By the end of 2022, we will have upgraded more than 200,000 lights to LEDs across the Tampa Bay area.

Our use of LEDs and smart photocells is just the beginning of what’s available. We’re exploring and installing light fixtures and poles with built-in electric vehicle chargers, speakers, WiFi and much more. Our Smart Cities and Technology webpage explains how we’re leveraging technology to turn Tampa into a smart city and to reduce crime, in part by our work with the Tampa Police Department to install lights with security cameras and gunshot-detection devices. View Tampa Electric debuts ”sunny” new streetlights to learn about the more than 600 solar streetlights we’ve installed across Hillsborough County.

solar streetlight
Solar streetlights are sleek and smart.

A Wild Case Study

older lights and new lights
We replaced outdated, underperforming lights (left) with new LED lighting for ZooTampa.

ZooTampa, a historic Tampa organization, has delighted visitors for more than 90 years. But some of its outdoor lighting was showing its age. We were thrilled to create an affordable solution to enhance what was outdated and underperforming. We took over a portion of the zoo’s existing lighting system and upgraded more than 70 obsolete lights. We added a few coats of protective paint to the poles, which were still in good condition. The result looks and functions like new, and the nonprofit zoo was able to save money on the retrofit. We also installed new lights to illuminate additional parking areas for visitor safety. Our earth-friendly LEDs are the perfect complement to ZooTampa’s many green initiatives. Watch this video to learn more. 

decorative light at the zoo
Decorative new LED lights help illuminate ZooTampa’s parking lot.

Here for the Future

At Tampa Electric, we’re very proud that more than 100 years after that downtown “light show,” our crews are still installing and maintaining lights throughout the Tampa Bay area and across the state.

If you’re looking for outdoor lighting solutions, look for expertise, experience and ease. Our Bright Choices outdoor lighting program offers all three, plus a wide variety of lights, poles and advanced features. A unique leasing plan means no up-front costs plus design, installation and maintenance for the life of our system.

You could say it’s a miraculous solution.

Hyde Park streetlights
Smart LED streetlights illuminate Tampa's historic Hyde Park district.