Seeing purple? Phoenix streetlight color is the result of a manufacturing defect

By Monica Navarro
Published: Friday, October 27, 2023 - 5:05am

Jean Clare Sarmiento/KJZZ
A purple streetlight lights up University Drive in Phoenix on Oct. 26, 2023.

You may have noticed purple street lights scattered around Phoenix, an unusual sight for people used to the default orange glow. But why are they there? 

Purple streetlights are the result of a manufacturing defect.

In 2015, Phoenix began developing plans to use energy-efficient LED lights. The switch saves the city approximately $3.5 million in annual energy costs.

According to Gregg Bach with Phoenix’s streets department, the defect causes the lights’ phosphor layer to delaminate, revealing a purple glow.

The city has started replacing bulbs, at no cost to the city or taxpayers.

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