Intelligent Energy

Why Lighting Science's cheap, new LED bulb stands out

Posting in Energy

Lighting Science Group has developed an LED that will cost under $15 and use 85 percent less electricity than a conventional 60-watt incandescent bulb. Why the company's marketing approach works.

Lighting Science Group and electronics maker Dixon have developed an LED that will cost under $15 and use 85 percent less electricity than a conventional 60-watt incandescent bulb.  The Definity, as its creators call it, has an 8-year life span and is priced significantly lower than its LED competitors. Now all Lighting Science has to do is convince consumers that they'll save money down the line by spending more now.

The crux of LED lighting has always been getting the consumer to throw down considerably more cash at the checkout counter with the understanding that it will be cheaper over the long run. So it might seem odd at first glance that Lighting Science is launching its cheaper, but still costly LED in India and not in the U.S. or Europe where personal incomes tend to be higher.

Lighting Science's approach makes sense. Consumers in the U.S. might have the means to invest in LEDs, but India has the greater need for the bulbs. Efficient lights -- as well as appliances, data centers etc. -- have become increasingly important as demand for energy in India has exploded.  Demand consistently outstrips power capacity causing disruptions in service such as rolling blackouts or brown outs.

To meet that demand, India plans to build 80 new coal-fired power plants to over the next five years, according to information Lighting Science used from India's Ministry of Power. Not exactly the cleanest approach.

Enter the promise of LED lighting, a market that is expected to swell to $400 million in India by 2015. Changing to LED light bulbs can reduce the country's electricity demand by as much as 40 percent, Lighting Science said in its release.  Much of the attention will focus on the Lighting Science's new 60-watt LED and its sub-$15 price tag. But the company's other lighting products may make the biggest impact in India in terms of energy savings.  The products will include street lights, outdoor and industrial lighting fixtures and replacement bulbs.

The Definity also will appeal to U.S. consumers once the product is introduced worldwide sometime early next year. Although for an entirely different reason.  Yes, it's cheap, but what really makes it shine is its similarity to the incandescent. The bulb is omnidirectional, which mean it distributes light like the traditional incandescents do, a point that CNET's Jonathan Skillings also noted.

Photo/Lighting Science Group

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure