Forest Lighting to Grab India Government LED Bulb Lighting Tenders

(Author: Joanne Wu of LEDinside/ / Editor and Translator: Judy Lin, Chief Editor, LEDinside)

Observations of the global economic outlook for 2016 remains dim, with the economy expected to further decline. Despite the grim outlook, the Indian market has emerged as a shining beacon for lighting manufacturers. Rising domestic demands, emphasis on Made in India, tariff-free and other opportunities are encouraging manufacturers to enter the market.

On the other hand there are still obstacles manufacturers need to overcome in the local market, such as adjusting to Indian culture, lack of infrastructures, and power shortages. All these factors are presenting challenges in business operations and management. In an exclusive interview with LEDinside, Forest Lighting India CEO Ita Lin, shared insights on the opportunities and challenges in the local market.

Ita Lin, CEO of Forest Lighting India. (LEDinside)

The Indian government initiated its four-year LED bulb subsidiaries and related policies in 2014, by 2015 the government had subsidized in total 150 million LED bulb subsidies through various bids and government projects. However, the government’s LED bulb tender prices has plummeted from INR 310 (US $4.82) to INR 72 per bulb in 2016. In spite of the plunging bulb procurement prices, sheer volume of LED bulbs acquired by the central government has continued to make the public sector appealing to lighting manufacturers. According to Lin’s projections, India LED bulb tenders are expected to grow at a rate exceeding 200 million bulbs per year from 2016 to 2018, and more than 900 million LED bulbs will be used for tenders during this time period. Renowned Indian lighting brands and manufacturers have made a clarion call, and in general have received the largest shares from government lighting tenders.

All India lighting products that enter local retail channels must be approved by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), and products must receive an energy efficiency label of at least three stars (about 95 lm/W to 105 lm/W). Starting from 2016, the entire luminaire’s luminous efficiency must reach 100 lm/W. Yet, lack of infrastructures and manufacturing equipment has made the local LED lighting business heavily reliant on LED package and component imports that are then assembled into finished luminaire products by Indian companies.

Lighting product specs have risen over the past years, for instance LED bulb specs advanced from 7W with 700 lm output to 9W, 900 lm. Other stringent standards include designing products that can cope with wide voltage range from 100V to 300V, driver efficiency of at least 85%, power factor 0.9, surge protection of 2.5 KV, and luminous efficiency of 100 lm/W. These requirements are already the highest international bulb specs, but various factors are driving down prices in the local market at an alarming rate, sometimes as much as 5% per quarter. It is projected by second half of 2016, prices of LED bulbs will near Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s targeted price of INR 44 per bulb.

High lighting standards and low tender prices, have presented significant challenges for LED package specs. LED bulbs using 2835 LEDs luminous efficiency must reach 130 lm/W, and a junction temperature of 85℃ during tests. In response to the taxing Indian market demands, Forest Lighting has deployed its market strategy of supplying LED package products mainly to top three LED bulb manufacturers in the lighting tender market. To position itself in the Indian lighting market, the company will be launching Forest Lighting branded LED bulbs during second half of 2016 in the local market.

(Editor’s Note: Forest Lighting also goes by the brand name MLS for its OEM products.)

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