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Price of LED bulbs to halve to $11 in 2020

Cost has long been crucial for LEDs. However, the focus is now shifting from the package to the surrounding system. Specifically, innovations in areas such as thermal management, drivers and optics are forecasted to contribute to a halving in the price of LED bulbs to $11.06 in 2020, according to market analyst firm Lux Research in its new report ‘Cheaper, Brighter, Cooler: The Need for Cost Reduction Past the Package’ (part of the Lux Research Energy Electronics Intelligence service).
Costs of the central LED package will fall by more than 70% to $2.14 in the next decade, constituting 19% of the bulb costs in 2020, predicts Lux. However, to drive overall costs lower – and to ensure adoption in a market still dominated by incandescent and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) – other system costs need to keep pace.
“We find that today’s balance of system technology solutions fall short of the dramatic cost reductions needed to mirror the LED package, and existing alternate solutions are ineffective and uneconomical, presenting opportunities for technology innovation,” says analyst Pallavi Madakasira, lead author of the report. “LED lighting is by no means standardized, and potential disruptions to the component stack abound,” she adds.
Lux Research analysts studied the key LED cost stack components of a 60W-incandescent-equivalent LED bulb as well as the technologies available to accelerate cost cutting in order to understand the true pathways to the potential of LED bulbs. Their findings include the following:
•Thermal management is the biggest target for cost reduction past the package. Active thermal management technologies such as Nuventix’s SynJet will lead to cost savings over aluminium-based solutions, but only from 2017.
•Dimmable drivers are priced at a premium to non-dimmable drivers because they enable precise control of the light output and lead to energy savings. Innovation in this area will bring a cost saving of about 1% in 2020, boosting the performance of LEDs overall.
•Secondary optics account for about 5% of the total cost of a 60W-equivalent LED bulb. The field is dominated by specialists such as Ledil, Khatod and Fraen, and innovation lies in improving the shape of the beam and the ability to collect more light from primary optics.

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