New Energy Policies World-wide Promote the Development of LED Lighting Industry – LEDforum 2009 Report (10)

Faced with issues such as energy shortage and global warming, governments across the globe have implemented various incentives and subsidies for energy-saving products. At the LEDforum 2009 Panel Discussion, LED industry heavyweights shared their points of view on the competition and development in the industry.

The panel discussion “New energy policies world-wide promote the development of LED lighting industry”, was hosted Dr Yi-Jen Chan, Vice President & EOL General Director, ITRI. Panelists include (from left to right, in the photo below):

Dr Rex H.J. Wu, General Manager, LITE-ON Technology; Dr Bing-Jie Lee, Chairman, Epistar Corporation; Dr Jun Ruan, Vice Secretary-General, China Solid State Lighting Alliance; Mr Alvin Tse, Vice President for Asia, Philips Lumileds; Mr Soo-Ghee Lee, Vice President/General Manager Asia Pacific, Cree Inc.; and Dr Yi-Jen Chan (host), Vice President & EOL General Director, ITRI. (Credit: LEDinside)

Cree’s Soo-Ghee Lee compared the three types of light bulbs: 1. from an environmental point of view, the issue with energy-saving CFL lamps is that they contain mercury; 2. the general public has grown accustomed to incandescent bulbs; 3. LED bulb replacements are not readily available in retail channels. Hence, in addition to changing consumers’ usage behavior, LED makers need to make prices more competitive to facilitate its widespread adoption, which also requires the support of government policies. The U.S. government has initiated a $5 billion LED lighting project, including the procurement of over 4000 LED lighting fixtures for The Pentagon alone. The adoption of LED lights in the public sector is one of the major driving forces of the LED market.

Europe's plan to phase-out incandescent bulbs is also being implemented in stages, and mercury contained in CFL bulbs is also under review, said Alvin Tse, Philips Lumileds. Similarly, Australia is also drafting regulations to ban the use of incandescent bulbs – with phasing out low-power traditional lighting as first priority; at the same time, the Australian government is promoting the use of LED lights among consumers. In the long run, there are great advantages in replacing traditional lighting with LED ones.

China’s “10 thousand lights in 10 cities” project includes not only LED streetlights, but indoor and outdoor LED lights as well, remarked Dr Jun Ruan, Vice Secretary-General, China Solid State Lighting Alliance. After market momentum picks up, the government will need to draft LED lighting standards to regulate the market. Ruan elaborated that China is a major production base of energy-saving CFL lamps; with the promotion of LED lighting, there is also an increase in the production of energy-saving lamps, which is also used as a replacement of incandescent bulbs. He put forward the idea of cross-strait industrial cooperation, and estimated that in 2012, China's LED industry is expected to reach RMB 200 billion, and RMB 500 billion in 2015, creating over one million job opportunities.

It may take some time for LED lighting to be priced at $0.01 per lumen, said Dr Bing-Jie Lee, Chairman, Epistar Corporation. The price gap will have to be narrowed step by step, from 10 times, to 5 times, and then 3 times. Based on his extensive experience in energy-saving CFL lamps over the years, Lee predicts that when the cost of LED light bulbs falls to $5, the LED lighting market will boom.

The progress of LED lighting development is directly linked to key factors such packaging, chip and optical design, application, and standards, said Dr Rex H.J. Wu, General Manager, LITE-ON Technology. With world-wide establishment of LED lighting-related standards, not only will the LED backlight segment prosper, LED lighting will also be able to witness success. He believes that incorporating LEDs in the design of an application will effectively reduce its energy consumption, and that it is feasible to achieve ‘lumen per cent’ in LED lighting.

As of year 2009, governments around the globe have been enforcing the ban on incandescent light bulbs, noted Dr Yi-Jen Chan, Vice President & EOL General Director, ITRI. The LED industry recovered rapidly after the financial downturn – in addition the booming LED backlight, development in the LED lighting field looks promising. Compared to the energy consumed in the manufacturing process of LEDs, the energy conserved during its usage makes its replacement worthwhile. He also suggested that Dr Ruan propose to the Chinese government, in addition to China’s “electronic product subsidy program,” an “LED product subsidy program” should also be implemented to generate more business opportunities in LED lighting.

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