New Study Finds LED Prices and Efficiency Performance Already Exceed Expectations for 2016

LED lamps from quality suppliers are rapidly reducing in price – and improving in energy efficiency – far beyond industry and expert forecasts. Additionally, major consumer and professional lighting companies like IKEA and Erco have announced their intention to switch to 100% LED by 2016. In advance of a vote on whether to delay a regulation that would facilitate full market transition to LEDs, CLASP, the Danish Energy Agency, and Energy Piano have provided a thorough analysis of these surprising developments in the European lighting market to the European Commission and Consultation Forum.

Halogen lamps have become the most popular lighting choice among European consumers, according to a 2014 analysis by CLASP, in collaboration with the Swedish Energy Agency, the Belgian Federal Ministry for Health, Food Chain Safety & Environment, and eceee. With 477% sales growth across Europe between 2007 and 2013, halogen sales were considerably higher than expected by the European Commission. At the same time, consumers shunned compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), with sales of energy-efficient CFLs in decline since 2010. This unexpected shift away from CFL in favour of halogen undercut the anticipated energy savings from phasing out incandescent lamps.

Now, European policy leaders are making a decision whether to keep, amend or delay the final stage of an existing law that would shift the market totally from halogen to LED lamps starting in September 2016. According to a new analysis by CLASP, the Danish Energy Agency, and Energy Piano, LED lamps have already become much more affordable and energy efficient than was expected.

LED lamps found on the market today are achieving price points that were only expected in 2020, 2022, 2024 and 2025. This exciting 5-11 year acceleration in affordability of LED lamps from major European manufacturers means that consumers experience very attractive payback periods of less than 1 year, if the lamps are installed in a household socket used 3 hours per day.

Concerns that LED lamps may be too heavy, too big or emit poor quality light are issues that have been – and are continuing to be addressed – by manufacturers. The CLASP market research report highlights that there are LED lamps available that meet the shape, size and light quality of incandescent and halogen lamps. The report also notes that consumer and professional lighting companies are switching: the global retailer IKEA announced they will only sell LED lamps starting in 2016. Erco, a professional luminaire manufacturer, announced that starting in January 2015 they will only supply luminaires that use LED light sources.

According to CLASP CEO Christine Egan, “Internationally, LED markets are evolving at warp speed, in terms of price and product quality. In Europe, some quality brand LED lamps on the market today are at price points that were only expected to be in shops in 2025, with features and characteristics that consumers care about. This new evidence should be very interesting to policymakers working on these issues.”

The report also estimates that the Commission’s proposal to delay the policy measure by two years will result in 33 TWh of lost electricity savings over a ten year period from 2016 through 2026. These savings represent approximately €6.6 billion Euro in higher electricity bills, and in terms of volume is approximately equal to Denmark’s current annual electricity consumption.

“Lighting accounts for a large share of domestic energy consumption (12% of average Danish household electrical consumption)”, said Henrik Andersen, Head of division at the Danish Energy Agency, one of the co-sponsors of the study. “The report finds price points in today’s market from quality brands that were only expected in 2025. For half of the products, the current price level is 5-11 years ahead of expert forecasts. This on-going reduction in LED lamp prices will enable mass market penetration. European consumers then can experience reductions in their energy bills while enjoying beautiful, high quality light from LED lamps.

Furthermore, the study contemplates a scenario where the regulation takes effect in 2016 but is increased to A-class to avoid any B-class halogen lamps entering the European market. For this scenario, the energy savings would be 79 TWh more than the Commission’s proposal – or nearly €15.8 billion Euro over ten years.

The study concludes that the LED market has started to become a mass market in Europe, and this will continue to develop between now and September 2016, when the policy measure is currently scheduled to take effect.

“The upcoming decision for European policy-makers on whether or not to delay the final stage of the phase-out of incandescent lighting is critical,” remarked Michael Scholand of CLASP Europe, one of the report co-authors. “By keeping the 2016 date, Europe will accelerate innovation in LED lighting and we can expect faster price reductions, benefitting consumers sooner than if the phase-out was delayed.

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