Backup Batteries at Traffic Lights Increase Safety and Energy Resilience in Saratoga

Backup Batteries at Traffic Lights Increase Safety and Energy Resilience in Saratoga

Silicon Valley Clean Energy provides funding for community resilience project

Saratoga, Calif. – The City of Saratoga installed backup battery systems at 14 traffic light intersections to increase safety. If a power outage occurs, the backup batteries will switch on to power traffic lights and allow the city to maintain access to the signals. The $182,000 project received $139,000 from Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) as part of the local energy provider’s Community Resilience Grant Program.

Traffic light backup batteries support traffic safety for the community of Saratoga in the case of wildfires, earthquakes, or other emergencies that could cause power outages. In those cases, the backup batteries will turn on for up to two hours; operating in the normal traffic adaptive system that changes with real-time traffic demand. Without the batteries, these lights would not function in such emergency situations. The new system will transition into a Flash Red operation for power failure events that exceed two hours until battery life is expended, estimated up to an additional 6-8 hours of Flash Red operation.

With backup power for the adaptive lights, the City will also maintain access to and control over the signals to maximize the safest and most effective flow of traffic if an evacuation is needed.

“Many of our busiest signalized intersections are within or adjacent to high fire hazard areas and have lost power during planned outages in recent years, causing delays and confusion. We quickly realized that the issues we encountered during a planned outage would be drastically exacerbated during an emergency,” said Tina Walia, Mayor of Saratoga and member of the SVCE Board of Directors. “I am extremely grateful to SVCE for helping the City of Saratoga improve community resiliency by providing support for the traffic signal backup battery project and ensuring our traffic signals stay on.”

Power outages from wildfires, extreme heat, and planned shutoff events are increasing – causing economic and public health impacts across California. SVCE is investing $5 million in local communities to support a more resilient region.

“SVCE approved this grant funding to support the investment in local energy resilience,” said Girish Balachandran, SVCE CEO. “The backup battery project adds an important safety feature that helps protect the community from being vulnerable to grid outages, and provides control to the city in case evacuations are needed.”

About Silicon Valley Clean Energy

Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a not-for-profit, community-owned agency providing clean electricity from renewable and carbon-free sources to more than 270,000 residential and commercial customers in 13 Santa Clara County jurisdictions. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates competitive and promote clean energy programs. Silicon Valley Clean Energy is advancing innovative solutions to fight climate change by decarbonizing the grid, transportation, and buildings. Learn more at

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