An LED light bulb that can fit into a standard socket, will cost less than $15, and will last 8 years — that’s what Lighting Science Group and Dixon Technologies India are promising. On Monday, the two companies announced they will be producing the breakthrough 60-watt-equivalent bulb first for the Indian market this year and then for global markets next year.
The barrier for LED bulbs for both the consumer and commercial customers has long been price. Companies like GE (s GE) and Lemnis Lighting have launched LED bulbs that can replace incandescent bulbs, but cost between $40 and $50. In comparison, incandescent bulbs can cost 50 cents to a $1, and compact fluorescent bulbs can cost $4 to $5 or so.
LED lighting companies point out that even though LEDs are more expensive upfront, they can lead to significant savings over time, given they can save significant amounts of energy over their lifetimes. Lighting Science Group says the new bulb uses 35 percent less electricity than a CFL, and that the payback from the sub-$15 purchase is 8 months in energy savings.
A $15 LED bulb could be a game changer for getting more consumers and businesses to be able to afford LEDs, particularly in India, where a $40 or $50 LED bulb is prohibitively expensive.
Lighting Science Group and Dixon Technologies India say that the market for LED lighting in India is expected to grow to $400 million by 2015 (53 percent growth per year), and switching over the current light bulbs in India to LED bulbs could reduce the country’s energy consumption by 40 percent. The companies say that 800 million incandescent bulbs and 300 million CFLs are sold in India each year.
Ultimately, the lighting market will likely move completely to CFLs and LEDs. Governments and companies throughout the world have been phasing out inefficient incandescents, and the U.S. plans to begin phasing out inefficient incandescents starting in 2012.