In the next five years, the global lighting industry will go through the biggest period of change since the invention of the incandescent bulb by Thomas Edison. The Edison bulb itself will be effectively outlawed in most countries and for most applications. The compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) that once appeared to be the heir-apparent for general illumination applications will be under severe pressure from environmentalists concerned about mercury content. The era of true solid state lighting will be dawning, primarily powered by ultra-high-efficiency light emitting diodes (LEDs) and to a lesser extent by organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs).
Every type of lighting that is vying to replace the incandescent blub uses electronic ballast. During this transition period, various types of energy efficient lighting will surge in sales. High-efficiency fluorescent tubes, high-intensity discharge (HID) lighting, as well as CFLs and other lighting technologies will see increasing sales, driving growth for sales of the corresponding electronic ballasts.
That will be good news because it will drive a huge surge in ballast sales. It may also be bad news because every type of lighting requires very different types of ballasts. Only companies offering the right ballasts and ballast components will benefit. For makers of electronic ballasts and related components, this is a critical period. Targeting the wrong lighting technology at the wrong time will be disastrous.
What started as a political desire to slow global warming has grown into a complex mixture of technological, economic, environmental and political issues. This report delves deeply into each of these areas and identifies the key drivers that will determine the adoption of future generations of lighting technologies. As is true in almost every area of electronics, technology availability and economic viability will be the dominant factors determining the winners and losers in the race to replace the incandescent bulb.
CFLs use about one-third the energy of a traditional incandescent bulb and last up to 10 times as long. LEDs are also touted for their high efficiencies (they are projected to be 3X as efficient as CFLs in 2013) and long lives (50,000 hours). But today’s LEDs have problems with high cost (10X the cost of a CFL). And while LEDs are getting better, CFLs are also improving. The latest generation of CFLs features operating lives of 15,000 hours, twice as long as previous CFL designs. And new CFL designs feature greatly reduced mercury content, reducing their negative environmental impact.
But the race is not just between CFLs and LEDs. Linear fluorescent lamps are among the most popular light source for a wide variety of applications from residential lighting to commercial lighting to signs. And various HID technologies are improving in efficiency and are widely employed in industrial, architectural and other applications.
It’s not just the basic lighting technology that determines overall performance. The associated ballasts technology has a major impact on the potential for energy savings. For example, some lighting technologies are more easily dimmed than others. The ability to dim lights effectively can result in as much as a 70% energy (and cost) savings. Ballasts that incorporate new dimming technologies for fluorescent tubes and CFLs can significantly improve the overall efficiency of the system and make those technologies even more cost-effective. That could make it more difficult for LEDs to gain widespread acceptance.
System-level developments are contributing to even greater reductions in energy use by lighting. For example dimmable ballasts may be addressed by any one of several control standards such as the Digital Addressable Lighting Interface (DALI) developed in Europe. Standards such as DALI enable the centralized control of many ballasts in an integrated building communications system that simultaneously controls all major building systems including individual light fixtures, operable window blinds, environmental sensors, and more, to minimize overall energy consumption.
The control of individual lighting ballasts is beginning to extent even beyond the building interior to the outside world. New ballasts have been developed that enable electric utilities to remotely control individual fixtures, reducing the lighting load (so-called load shedding) for their commercial customers during peak demand periods. Companies participating in these “demand-side management” programs typically receive reduced electric rates.
At the same time that lighting technologies are evolving, ballasts are improving and lighting control systems are getting more complex, governments are setting standards and implementing incentives for the use of efficient lighting. While the intent of these programs is almost universally to improve environmental performance, they can also distort markets. It is important for makers of electronic ballasts to understand the complex matrix of government programs to target the best opportunities for near-term as well as longer-term growth.
Even before incandescent bulbs have been banned, demand for more energy efficient lighting has been growing. For example, the U.S. residential sector for energy efficient lighting has surged from 5% of units sold in 2005 to 20% in 2007. More energy efficient lights were sold in the U.S. market in 2007 than in the previous three years combined. And growth is accelerating. Europe and China are experiencing similar adoption patterns.
Change is a certainty for this industry and this report presents the only detailed and comprehensive analysis of trends driving demand for electronic ballasts. It considers a broad array of technical, economic, environmental and regulatory trends and presents a path to the future for the continued adoption of various energy efficient lighting technologies.
Topics Covered Include:
• Lighting Technologies
• Economic Drivers
• Application Segment Trends
• Lighting Performance and Cost Trends Comparison
• Technology Developments
• Regulations and Incentives
• Industry Associations and Organizations
• Consumer (Un)Awareness of Changing Lighting Regulations
• Building Automation and Lighting Control Standards
The market for electronic ballasts for energy-efficient lighting will continue to grow at a rapid rate, but the exact rate and trajectory of growth are being altered by numerous factors. In the near-term, growth for some segments will slow as a result of the current economic downturn. However, the impact of today’s economic troubles will be short-lived and will vary depending on the specific market segment and ballast type being considered. Advances in various lighting technologies, new government regulations and overall demand for energy efficient lighting solutions are more important long-term trends and all are investigated in detail in this analysis. Critical and often subtle underlying changes in demand, such as the increasing use of building automation, are also identified and discussed.