Should you invest in the switch to LED or Solar?
In recent years, solar-powered lights have experienced a boom followed by an overnight collapse. This was a direct result of government policy first offering to buy back solar-produced electricity at 3 times the market rate and then taking it away. At the same time, LED has seen a steady, modest growth, especially in the high-end of the market.
How do investment in LED and solar compare? Payback time for a business running its lights for 10-12 hours a day would be 1 year for LED as opposed to 8 years for solar. LED’s incredible lifespan of over 50000hrs means that your initial extra expenditure will be recouped 10 fold over the LED’s life. This should make the decision to switch to LED a no brainer!
Why isn’t everyone using LED? Good question! The LED market is not new, and there is no shortage in potential supply. In addition, the switch is technically quite easy so long as you adhere to a few do´s and dont´s. I think LED would be more common if government policy and information were more up to date. As a former electrician, I noticed that deeply entrenched sales and installation habits among tradies are currently stalling the utilisation of LED. Part of this may stem from a lack of understanding about LED and solar among tradies, and they won´t sell what they don´t understand. And, I suppose, there will always be someone enjoying the extra relamping work that would inevitably flow from installing less efficient, traditional lighting systems.
What else is good to know? There is room for improvement of both LED and solar technologies. LED needs more efficient conversion of electricity into light (that is to say, turning electrons into photons). Currently, it´s efficiency drops off sharply as current increases (this is called droop). Thermal management by heatsink design and the ability for it to disperse heat are critical to performance. Improvement in solar will involve production of cheaper solar cells, and increased efficiency of the solar cell´s ability to convert light energy into electricity; while we can currently make an incredible 30% efficient solar cell, it costs 10 times as much to produce as the cheaper polymer solar cell which is only 5% efficient. All the same, while the efficiency of solar will be financially viable in the future, LED is already there!
Where will we be in 10 years? I think the future looks bright for both solar and LED, especially with the introduction of the carbon tax. This will provide even greater incentive to embrace and develop such technologies. And you should know that LED cost is not discernibly effected by the tax. The use of incandescent lights have already been banned, and maybe they should consider banning halogen too. In the meantime, we at LEDshopper hope to contribute to a more cost- and energy-efficient now, for a more sustainable future.
Matt Mason- LEDshopper
New Lighting Requirements - Building Code of Australia
Even more of a reason to switch to LED lighting... The Building Code of Australia (BCA) has just introduced new requirements for artificial lighting that restricts the amount of lighting, or more power used for lighting the home.
The changes in the BCA involve dropping the old 25 watts per square meter maximum right down to 5 watts per square meter.
This will certainly impact the way any new home or renovations are carried out.
Under the new requirement builders, architects, electricians and the like are now almost forced to convert to a much more energy efficient way of lighting.
In a typical 4m x 4m room most lighting designers would allow for 4 x 50W halogens downlights.
In this situation the rooms square metre coverage is 4 x 4 = 16 sqm. Using 4 x 50W lights gives us 200W.
Using the basic mathematics to determine watts per square metre (200W/16sqm) this gives us a total of 12.5W per square metre. THIS DOES NOT COMPLY.
By switching to LED Downlights, using a 50W halogen LED equivalent, the Brightgreen D900 only uses 16W per lamp.
16W x 4 / 16sqm = 4W/sqm - That means LED Downlights comply to the new BCA for equivalent light output of 50W halogens.
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