Getting the LEDs Out

by Richard T. Stuebi

Keith Scott, VP of Business Development at Bridgelux, recently posted on GreenTech Media an interesting take on the state of LED lighting markets. Mr. Scott claims that “we are in the middle of the LED lighting revolution”, and sees big expansion ahead in for the sector.

In some ways, the picture he paints parallels the recent trends in the photovoltaics sector. The prices for LED lighting system are high in large part because of booming demand for LEDs from other applications (e.g., high-def TVs). This is triggering expansion of LED manufacturing capacity, which should alleviate supply constraints and drive down prices. Regulatory drivers — Energy Star, California’s Title 24 and other code tightenings — will spur demand to absorb the increased supply. Product designers are working to integrate LED into holistic systems that better satisfy customer needs on a variety of attributes — not just light quality, but also temperature.

Solar energy has consistently been one of the sexiest segments of the cleantech arena. If LED technology is following a somewhat similar trajectory, then shouldn’t it start garnering more attention?

Richard T. Stuebi is a founding principal of the advanced energy initiative at NorTech, where he is on loan from The Cleveland Foundation as its Fellow of Energy and Environmental Advancement. He is also a Managing Director in charge of cleantech investment activities at Early Stage Partners, a Cleveland-based venture capital firm.

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