From being seen as a high-cost, niche lighting technology, LEDs are suddenly springing up everywhere.
The LED concept indeed is very simple – it provides the same amount of light as a conventional bulb, but consumes far less electricity.
You might ask: So what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that this reduction can be as high as 75%. Imagine if your car consumes 75% less oil for the same distance travelled. Wouldn’t you be thrilled to heaven?
Yes, compared to ordinary incandescent bulbs we had been using for decades, an LED lamp might reduce electricity consumption by 75%. Which means, if you had been using a 40 W bulb, you could now do with a 10 W bulb instead.
Imagine a few hundred million houses worldwide reducing their lighting energy requirements by 75%. No, this will not solve our climate change problem completely (as lighting is not even the largest contributor to CO2 emissions), but it can be an important step in that direction.
LEDs also have lifetimes that are many times higher than incandescent lamps. Many LEDs boast 25,000 hours life time, or even higher – thus, if you are using the LED for 5 hours a day, a good LED light could come for 12+ years.
These two factors – much lower wattage requirement and a much longer lifetime – make LED a great investment.
LEDs have their challenges too. The light quality from LEDs is still a point of debate, and all LED brands have not been able to provide a great experience in this regard. The other challenge is of course their high upfront cost – even after their prices have come down in the past few years, LEDs still cost multiple times that of CFL or incandescent lamps.
But overall, LEDs appear to have reached the tipping point in adoption, as the LED technology matures and costs continue to decrease. For instance, in India (where I live), the cost of LED bulbs have decreased by over 65% in just the last two years (2014-16) and their adoption has surely increased multi-fold during the same period.