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Top Ten Myths of LEDs: #9 – “LEDs are expensive”

Mon, 06/24/2013 - 9:00am
Mike Krames, CTO, Soraa

“Ten bucks for a light bulb?!”, exclaims my daughter in response to my estimate of the ‘tipping point’ price for LED-based lighting products for the residential consumer.

She, like many consumers, has yet to internalize that the real cost of ‘inexpensive’ conventional light bulbs is energy consumption, and that LEDs pay back on this aspect right away. For example, an LED lamp may draw 10 Watts of power, putting out the same amount of light as a 50-Watt halogen. In a commercial application where 12-hour operation is common, the energy savings is $53 over the 3-year warranty period of the lamp, not to mention the elimination of the re-lamping costs (labor charges and more bulbs) required for halogen. Thus, one could pay up to $53 for this lamp and still come out ahead!

The simple fact is that hanging on to inefficient incandescent and halogen light sources is robbing businesses of savings they could have TODAY, and the numbers can be staggering. A large hotel/casino with 24/7 operation is wasting up to $100,000 or more every month just on MR16 lamps!

The prices of LED lamps will go down significantly over the next few years. Our GaN on GaN LED technology enables up to ten times more light per semiconductor wafer lot compared to other LED technologies, providing a fundamental cost advantage that will be passed on to our customers and bring the ‘tipping point’ to reality sooner rather than later. But even at today’s prices, the math is clear. The savings in energy and re-lamping costs over conventional light sources makes switching to LEDs a no-brainer.

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