February 4, 2022   

6½ Takeaways from the SSL Opportunities Report

2022 02 key takeaways ssl report.jpg

Eye-opening targets for LED fixture performance and adoption


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Building Technologies Office (BTO), within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), has published the 2022 Solid-State Lighting R&D Opportunities report. The report examines high-priority opportunities to develop manufacturing technologies that will benefit energy-saving solid-state lighting (SSL) while also supporting an increased role in the global marketplace for U.S. manufacturing of lighting products.

Here are our favorite takeaways:


1. LED installations expected to rise from 35% to 84% by 2035.


The above chart details the expected future path for LED lamps and luminaires with expected levels of SSL investment and effort from industry stakeholders and continued adoption of LED products.


2. LED Package Performance is NOT Expected to Plateau Anytime Soon*


Ten to twelve years ago, it was not uncommon for LED chip makers to send out semi-annual press releases about LED lumens per watt (lm/W) leapfrogging that frequently raised the efficacy bar as much as 5, 10 or 15 lm/W at a time. In recent years, the limitations of physics have been cited as one of the reasons why efficacies inch up one or two ticks at a time these days, but the DOE believes that we are nowhere near the performance ceiling with white LED efficacies targeted to enter the 230s and 240s by the end of this decade, and eventually eclipse 250 lm/W.

*See full report for full explanation.  Yes, many LED packages exceeded 138-185 in 2020.


3. DOE Sets a Goal for 214 lm/W Light Fixtures by 2050


A first glance at the luminaire level goal of 200+ lm/W troffer efficacy may arouse a “this can’t be done” reaction from many lighting people. We’ll leave the technical debates and philosophizing to the smart lighting engineers and scientists who push our industry forward, but we’ll simply point out that a lot of innovation can happen in 28 years. For instance, 28 years ago Class A office space was often being specified with twin tube compact fluorescent downlights. End users frequently opted for the $200+ option of a fluorescent dimming ballast in each fixture that could bring light levels “all the way down” to 10%. We’ve come a long way since 1994.


4. Will We See Dollars per Lumen Drop 40+% by 2035?


When LED chips punch out higher efficacies, that naturally improves the dollars per lumen ratio. But when a decrease in component costs is layered on top of performance increases, that causes a favorable acceleration of dollars per lumens over time. When the lighting industry experiences these simultaneous improvements end users see a more attractive lighting project value proposition, driving more and more adoption.


5. Yikes! Cost of lighting a commercial facility drops to 12% of total electricity spend.


One of the first pages in the lighting salesperson playbook was to discuss the “cost of light” with end users and other lighting stakeholders. The compelling rationale is that the initial cost in the lighting fixture and its installation is dwarfed by the operating/maintenance costs of that fixture over time. While this conversation is still in the lighting salesperson’s favor when replacing legacy lighting products, the power of it will be diminished over time as end users replace their first-generation LED fixtures with newer-generation LED fixtures.


6. Lighting Controls are Not Used in the Majority of Indoor Spaces


This data is 5 years old, but it still points out the incredible growth opportunity that lies ahead for the lighting controls market.


6 ½. But Wait, There’s More!

We pulled six chunks of info from the 201-page report that we thought would interest the inside.lighting audience the most. The DOE explores many other topics, so if you’re so inclined, please open the report for more lighting info on many topics including the following:

  • Productivity Benefits from Lighting
  • Light Stimulus and Physiological Responses
  • Lighting Sustainability and Lifecycle
  • Germicidal Ultraviolet
  • OLED Sources
  • Advanced Manufacturing R&D
  • Flicker & Glare
  • Platform Technology R&D
  • Lighting Science R&D


See the Full Report »


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