MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Xcel Energy officials say a new program to upgrade thousands of street lights across Minnesota is launching this week.

Xcel Energy is installing new LED street lights across nearly 350 communities, starting with the Osakis area this week. The project will span about two-and-a-half years and about 90,000 street lights owned by Xcel Energy will be converted from the cobra head-style sodium bulbs to new energy-efficient LED bulbs.

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Field tests were done to see how much energy could be saved in communities by switching to the LED bulbs. In West St. Paul, 537 street lights were switched and the results showed between 40 and 60 percent less energy used. Once new lights are installed, officials say Minnesota communities can expect to save between four and seven percent on their electric bill.

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Xcel Energy says it’s taking on the entire cost of the project.