The Bay Lights Project

Photo: Benjamin Warde
ARIA Technologies supplied the fiber optic cable to connect the Bay Lights Project.The Bay Lights Project was created by artist Leo Villarea and incorporates 25,000 white programmable LED lights that span the San Francisco Bay Bridge’s vertical support cables on its north west side. It is believed to be the world’s largest LED light sculpture spanning 1.8 miles. The project will utilize computer software to display a beautiful dynamic patterned light show from dusk until 2 AM on the Bay Bridge for a minimum of 2 years.

Each individual LED is configurable over newly installed copper and fiber optic networks. USJS Telecom spliced and tested all the fiber to the 24 managed switches in the field. They also terminated and tested the 176 unmanaged switches fed by Cat5 cable. These networks support the project’s active data transfer rate of approximately 32 Mbps.

It took 6 months to install the project’s components and 8.8 million dollars to bring the project to fruition. Investors include Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, creator of Gmail Paul Buchheit, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, and others. The project is expected to bring 97 million dollars to the San Francisco economy.

The lights consume between 150-175 kW of electricity for approximately 7 hours each night. All of the electricity for the project is supplied by CleanPath’s offsite solar farm in Davis, California. Matt Cheney, CEO of CleanPath states “we’re powering a light installation, at night, on the north side of a bridge, in the foggiest city in the world, with solar power.”