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Want an LED bulb at half price? Just wait.

Think LED bulbs are too expensive for the average consumer? A new report purports to predict how long it will take before LED bulbs will be affordable enough for nearly everyone.

Costs of the central LED package will fall by more than 70% to $2.14 in the next decade, says the report from Lux Research in Boston. By then, the LED package will constitute 19% of the bulb costs. However, other system costs need to keep pace if LEDs are to replace other energy efficient bulbs such as CFLs.

“We find that today’s balance of system technology solutions fall short of the dramatic cost reductions needed to mirror the LED package and existing alternate solutions are ineffective and uneconomical, presenting opportunities for technology innovation,” said Pallavi Madakasira, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report, “Cheaper, Brighter, Cooler: The Need for Cost Reduction Past the Package.” “LED lighting is by no means standardized, and potential disruptions to the component stack abound,” she added.

Lux Research analysts studied the key LED cost stack components of a 60-W incandescent equivalent LED bulb as well as the technologies available to accelerate cost cuts. Among their findings: Thermal management will yield modest economies. Thermal management is the biggest target for cost reduction past the package. Active thermal management technologies such Nuventix’s SynJet will lead to cost savings over aluminum-based solutions, but only after about 2017.

They also say innovation in dimmable drivers will bring about a 1% cost saving in 2020, boosting the performance of the LEDs overall. Secondary optics is another avenue for cost savings, accounting for about 5% of the total cost of a 60-W equivalent LED bulb. The field is dominated by specialists such as Ledil, Khatod, and Fraen, and innovation lies in improving the shape of the beam and the ability to collect more light from primary optics.

The report, titled “Cheaper, Brighter, Cooler: The Need for Cost Reduction Past the Package,” is part of the Lux Research Energy Electronics Intelligence service.

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