DOE Report Forecasts $120 Billion Saved by 2030 with Solid-State Lighting

March 26, 2010
The market for solid-state lighting promises to be huge, but how huge is an open question

The market for solid-state lighting promises to be huge, but how huge is an open question. The U.S. Department of Energy last month released analysis of the energy-savings potential over the next 20 years for general-use solid-state lighting (SSL) compared with incandescent and fluorescent light sources. The report estimates that if solid-state lighting hits certain price and performance targets, a widespread conversion to SSL (primarily LED and OLED) could save almost 1,500 terawatt-hours of electricity, worth about $120 billion at current energy prices.

The study, “Energy Savings Potential of Solid-State Lighting in General Illumination Applications 2010 to 2030,” is available from the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Division website at

“As industry and government investment continues to improve the performance and reduce the costs associated with this technology, SSL will become more competitive with conventional light sources and can be expected to capture increasing shares of the general illumination market. This analysis attempts to quantify the national energy savings that would accrue due to the increasing market penetration of energy-efficient solid state lighting,” said the report’s introduction.

The attempt to quantify potential energy savings relies on some clarifying assumptions about future demand and the conditions that would favor market penetration, including advances in technology that haven’t been made yet and cost reductions as a driving force in market acceptance. The report’s authors give this a valiant effort, providing enough detail on the report’s assumptions that industry participants can revise the estimates based on their own expectations, and presenting contrasting cases for adoption of standard LED and OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technologies.

The report highlights the DOE’s efforts in concert with the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), Rosslyn, Va., on a Next Generation Lighting Initiative to accelerate the development of white-light SSL and position the U.S. as a global leader in this technology.