light emitting diode
LEDs are very fast emerging technology in lighting that is considered as brilliant a technology breakthrough as the Edison light two centuries ago and is considered by the World Bank to be the solution for lighting up the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (discussed below). LEDs are more commonly thought of as the tiny red and blue dots of light on household remote control units, but the new generation of LEDs give out useable white light that can be used in any light product.
LEDs are durable semi-conductors that provide one of the world’s most energy efficient light sources, with the newest models delivering around 70 to 100 lumens per watt. This means LED lights use approximately 10% of the energy consumption of incandescent bulbs (normal light bulbs) and 30% of the energy of compact fluorescent lamp (‘CFL’) bulbs, respectively. The lights have very low failure rates (less than 1 in every 1000) and consume very little power (either from the grid or from solar recharging).
LEDs have a lifetime of over 100,000 hours, which means they last more than 50 times longer than incandescent bulbs and 15 times longer than CFL bulbs. Even after 100,000 hours, the LEDs don’t just burnout – they just lose 10-20% of their rated intensity, which may not be noticeable in many applications.