As more and more countries are turning towards energy conservation in light of future development, the concept of smart cities which includes smart lighting is fast catching on. The lighting industry especially has seen exponential change in the last few years as the adoption of LED lighting is fast picking up pace.
The governments of several countries have taken measures to conserve energy and promote energy-efficient lighting in the public and private sectors through tax benefits in imports of LED components and products and subsidies for domestic LED manufacturers.
Although there is a widespread adoption of LED lighting in areas such as streetlights and commercial lighting, however, the steep price of LEDs in comparison to incandescent bulbs and CFL’s is hindering its foray into households.
LED BULB REVOLUTION STARTS AT RS. 10
One of the foremost agendas of the present Indian government in 2015 is to focus on energy conservation. This entailed the launch of the ‘Prakash Path: National Programme for LED-based Home and Street Lighting’ by the prime minister in January this year. Along with this program, the PM also launched a scheme for LED bulb distribution under the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) and a web-based system to enable consumers in Delhi to register requests for procuring LED bulbs under DELP. LED bulbs will be distributed in a phased manner from March 2015 onwards. The entire project of installing LED bulbs for domestic and street-lighting in 100 cities is targeted for completion by March 2016.
Sharing his views on the PM’s announcement, Mr. Shyam Sujan, Secretary General, ELCOMA says, “The announcement by Prime Minister to replace all points in the country with LED is very timely and goes with the plan that the Lighting Industry had prepared last year (Vision 2020). We had proposed that the consumption of lighting which is 18% at present can be reduced to 13% by 2020 if all Lighting points in India are replaced with LED and all street lights (27.5 million) are also replaced with LED street lights. Similarly, all down lights using halogen and incandescent lamps should be mandatorily replaced with LED down lights. The industry is preparing itself on war footing to face the challenge to provide LED lighting products “Make in India” in shortest possible time at a very affordable price.”
Adding his views on the program, Mr. Raju Bista, MD, Surya Roshni says, ‘The DELP program is really a great opportunity for Indian LED manufacturers. The EESL tenders for Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura & Delhi involving approximately 14 million LED lamps are testimony towards this and benefited Indian manufacturers as well as the consumers.”
BENEFITS TO CONSUMERS
Consumers can look forward to buying LED bulbs at discounted rates and savings on their annual electricity bill. Under the scheme for LED bulb distribution under DELP, an LED bulb will be sold to the domestic consumer at Rs. 130 in comparison to the current market retail price in the range of Rs. 350-600. The LED bulbs will have a warranty of 3 years. The estimated annual savings for households in Delhi per LED bulb will be Rs. 162.
Consumers can register either through the program website- www.eeslindia.org/Delhi-Launch or by sending an SMS to a designated number.
KEY CHALLENGES FOR MANUFACTURERS
According to Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, Bureau of Energy Efficiency, the key challenge to manufacturers is to ramp up production and meet all the requirements.
For bidding companies, Mr. Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director, EESL says, “Foremost, companies should have a manufacturing facility in India and secondly they should conform to the technical specifications that are put out by EESL which are slightly better than the BIS specifications.”
COPING WITH THE BURGEONING DEMAND
LED manufacturing in India is drifting away into a market which is primarily a technology integration. With the support from Department of Electronics and Information Technology which has started providing guidelines for all class of manufactures, currently over 200 manufactures of various sizes are providing support to this market in India.
According to Mr. Saurabh Kumar, there is a capacity of about 50 crores CFL’s. With a large part of the assembly of CFL’s and LEDs the same, he believes that it would not be that difficult to ramp up capacity to a high level.
STEP UP IN LED PRODUCTION IS ALREADY UNDER WAY
The LED revolution in India started with the supply of 7,50,000 bulbs in puducherry by M/s Ecolight technologies, which started a complete in-house production of the bulbs in India @ about 20,000 bulbs per day. Support from EESL was a major thrust for this integration, says Amit Gupta of Ecolight technologies. This has led to a major revamping of the LED industry in India, he adds.
Surya Roshni began its own in-house production of LED products such as LED lamps, downlighters and LED street light fittings in 2013 at its world-class laboratory at Noida and hopes to achieve revenue of Rs. 500 Crores in the LED segment in the next 2-3 years. The company has already invested Rs. 40-50 Crores and will invest further for enhancing the capacity of SMD and Auto Insertion machines for LED assembly lines and in plastic moulding of various shapes & sizes. Surya is also looking to invest Rs. 40-50 crores in the coming year.
Orient Electric has decided to switch more than 50 per cent of its production capacity from CFL to LED lamps. According to Puneet Dhawan, senior Vice-President and Business Head-Lighting, Orient Electric has the capacity to produce nine lakh LED lamps a month.
Mr. Sunil Sikka, President of Havells India claims that his company already has sufficient capacity for manufacturing LED lamp fixtures and will look at increasing capacity for manufacturing LED lamps in the coming months.
India is witnessing a disruptive shift and is expected to leapfrog in adoption of LEDs, and growth in volumes is expected to reduce prices.
An initiative such as this which favors LED technology will encourage lighting companies that have partially ventured into LED lighting to invest more in the production of LED products or altogether switch to the manufacture of LED products alone.
It also creates a strong competitive environment among manufacturers. LED lighting manufacturing companies will be challenged to produce LED bulbs without compromising on quality and offer them at lower prices.
Manufacturers are appreciating the efforts taken by the government and the latest initiative according to Mr. Arun Gupta, MD, NTL Group and which can sum up the views of all manufacturers: “This is a very good initiative by the Government and will propel the early adoption of LED bulbs by the consumers. We hope that the government also provides incentives to the Industry in terms of lower excise duties & custom duty rationalisation. The government should also evolve a mechanism to control the import of cheap and inferior quality LED products into the country.”
Finally in the words of Mr. Naveen Saxena, Country head, Opple Lighting India, “The huge government order for LEDs will not only make it easy for the regular households to afford LED technology but also bring down the costs massively through bulk orders. According to industry estimates, the retail prices have already come down by 30-40% in the last one year and the trend is expected to continue for the next couple of years.”
Note: Special thanks to Dr. Sandeep Garg, Sr. Technical Specialist, Indo German Energy Program for his assistance and inputs.