Chapter 9. LED Lighting Today and Tomorrow

The future of the LED is bulb is, to some extent, already determined. If Haitz’s Law holds true, the technology will become increasingly affordable and, following that, the lamps will become ever more popular. With clear advantages over both incandescent and CFL lighting, LEDs will likely be extremely widespread in four to five years and the other two will continue to wane. The competitors won’t ever go away—for example, Edison and Marconi-style bulbs are available in delightfully old-timey versions—but they will be increasingly relegated to specialty uses, in favor of more efficient technology.

A commonly held belief among people in the industry is that the explosion in growth will come when LED bulbs reach a certain price point. Some insiders put this at about $14, while other accounts predict $10, or even $5. Still, others regard this watershed level as a closely guarded secret and refuse to talk about it. Regardless of the amount, this will mark an inflection point when consumers will begin to clear the mental hurdle of solid state lighting’s high initial price point and understand that it is a more affordable option. It’s going to be a revolution in the consumer lighting industry, even if efficiency of scale prevents this level of pricing to arrive at all manufacturers at the same time.

When the price of CFLs hit about $14, their popularity exploded and mass consumer adoption started. While there is no guarantee that this will happen ...

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