LED Lighting Is Efficient But Requires High Initial Investment

By Abhijit Vaish April 17, 2024

Many consumers might not fully understand the long-term benefits of LED lighting, such as energy savings, durability, and environmental advantages

LED Lighting Is Efficient But Requires High Initial Investment

In recent years, India has experienced a significant shift towards adopting LED lighting solutions as a means to mitigate energy consumption and promote sustainability. The Government of India has been at the forefront of promoting LED adoption through various initiatives and policies. 

The launch of schemes like the Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) in 2014 program has played a pivotal role in making LED bulbs accessible and affordable to a wide range of consumers. These initiatives have not only accelerated the adoption of LED lighting but also contributed to significant energy savings and carbon emission reduction on a national scale. 

By June 2023, the UJALA initiative had grown to become the largest lighting program globally. Approximately 368 million LED bulbs and tube lights had been distributed through the program, resulting in the avoidance of 38 million tons of CO2 emissions annually and saving consumers INR 192 billion in electricity costs, EESL (Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public sector enterprise, that implemented the program. These LED bulbs have the potential to achieve energy savings of up to 90 percent when compared to incandescent bulbs.  

An array of benefits 

With a population exceeding 1.3 billion, India ranks as the second-largest nation globally, presenting a considerable challenge in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. LED bulbs contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions primarily through their energy efficiency. 

Unlike traditional incandescent bulbs, LED technology converts electrical energy into visible light with minimal energy wastage in the form of heat. This efficiency means that less electricity is needed to produce the same amount of light, thereby reducing the demand for fossil fuel-based power generation.

LED technology is highly efficient in converting electrical energy into visible light. Unlike incandescent bulbs, which emit light as a by-product of heating a filament, LEDs produce light directly through the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material.

This efficient light conversion process minimises energy wastage in the form of heat, further reducing the overall energy consumption and in turn leads to low electricity bill. Moreover, the savings accumulated contribute to households' disposable income and long-term savings, thereby enhancing their standard of living, fostering prosperity within local communities, and expanding access to energy for all.

The domestic LED market has now grown significantly which is especially encouraged by the Make in India initiative, with domestic manufacturing of LED bulbs.

The LED industry has emerged as a hallmark of the "Make in India" initiative, a pivotal national initiative aimed at stimulating innovation and bolstering manufacturing capabilities.

Roadblocks in Adoption 

Despite the remarkable achievement of India's transition to LED lighting some barriers have had to be here which are diminishing years by years now. LED lighting products often have higher initial costs compared to traditional lighting options like incandescent or CFL bulbs. While LED bulbs offer long-term savings through reduced energy consumption and longer lifespan, the higher upfront investment might have been deter some consumers, especially with low income group. 

This is also because many consumers might not fully understand the long-term benefits of LED lighting, such as energy savings, durability, and environmental advantages. This lack of awareness could have been lead to reluctance in adopting LED technology, as consumers were prioritizing upfront cost considerations over potential long-term savings.

But the current landscape has undergone significant transformation; today, even rural communities are embracing LED lighting solutions. This shift reflects an increasing awareness, cultivated over time through enhanced educational initiatives and a greater emphasis on learning.

(Abhijit Vaish is Executive Director of Instapower Ltd.)