Shining Light on LED Prices and Paybacks

Oct. 29, 2013
Recent studies show that now may be the time for an upgrade.

LED revenues are rising, and as a result, prices may plunge. Now is the time to consider an upgrade, and a new mobile app makes your decision easier than ever.

The most recent version of the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) LightSmart mobile app features a “Calculate ROI” function that gives users a clear payback timeline for upgrading to more efficient lighting. It determines ROI based on incandescent lamps, which are the cheapest upfront replacement lamps but typically require more frequent replacements and higher operating expenses.

Revenues from commercial LED lighting are projected to grow from $2.7 billion in 2013 to over $25 billion in 2021, according to a recent report from Navigant Research. In the coming years, LED prices are expected to fall to a point where savings from electricity consumption will provide a short payback period that will encourage adoption en masse.

“With the cost of LED lamps coming down, the app allows users to input the replacement cost to get an accurate ROI based on local energy rates obtained automatically through location services,” says Shari Hunter, business development manager at UL. “In addition to the payback period, users also receive feedback on how their lighting choices can help reduce carbon emissions.”

With a clear payback picture, it’s prime time for a replacement project. Navigant Research forecasts that only 5% of lamps sold for retrofits worldwide in 2013 will be LED-based, but that share is expected to grow to 40% by 2017.

“The rise of LED technology will transform every part of the commercial lighting industry,” says Jesse Foote, research analyst at Navigant Research. “While other lighting technologies have limited potential for future improvements, new designs for LEDs that push quality and efficacy to new levels continue to emerge from lighting labs around the world.”

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