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2011 Will Be Year of Rapid Growth for LEDs

LED's efficiency, longevity, and quality will help the technology make major strides in 2011, nearly tripling the total number of LED units entering the market in a single year.

Several separate research and analyst firms have all predicted that growth for LEDs in many application areas will drive incredible new demand in 2011 and beyond.

Important LED applications

Examples of where and how LEDs will be used abound, driving the technology's compound annual growth rate to more than 97 percent over the next four years according to an estimate from the Bay Area Climate Collaborative's (BACC) website.

"This growth is expected to occur in street lighting, indoor lighting for Class A buildings and premium architectural and design lighting," the BACC post said. "These are places where the technology is ready to be implemented and the quick return on investment is a motivating factor."

Elsewhere, Digitimes Research estimated the "the high brightness LED market will grow to $12.6 billion U.S. in 2011, up 53 percent from $8.25 billion U.S. in 2010. The overall use of LEDs in lighting will increase to 12.4 billion units in 2011 from 4.8 billion units in 2010, as the effects of LED light bulbs replacing incandescent bulbs will start to show in 2011."

As yet another example of the breadth of applications LEDs serve, market analysis firm, iSuppli reported that some 20 percent of LCD television sets sold in the United States in the third quarter of 2010 included LED-based backlights.

"On the demand side, consumers are attracted to LED-backlit LCD TVs by attributes including their thinner form factors, improved picture quality, better color saturation, power savings and other green attributes," said Riddhi Patel, director and principal analyst for television systems at iSuppli. "On the supply side, television and panel makers are investing in technology and offering a plethora of products to take advantage of LED-backlit LCD TVs, including product differentiation, innovation, low power consumption and the potential to reap the benefits of higher revenue."

In the outdoor lighting space, there are new announcements daily from municipalities or government agencies describing new LED-based projects. For example, a Mexican municipality recently said it would replace more than 25,000 street lights with LEDs, which according to published reports could reduce the region's energy usage by an astonishing 29 million watts.

Finally, there is anecdotal evidence that more hobbyists are purchasing LEDs for their projects, including computer mods, home based robotics, and hundreds of similar projects.

Even greater growth

Beyond 2011, the LED market is expected to pack on even more growth.

LED light bulb demand, according to analyst Jessie Lin of Digitimes Research, will increase almost five fold from 596 million units in 2011 to 2.5 billion units in 2013.

LED streetlamps will increase to 9.8 million units in 2013 from 2.2 million units in 2011. This extensive and prolonged boon, will be in part due to trial projects soon to be underway in the United States, European Union, and several Asian nations—most notable China.

The technology's core strengths

The secret, if you will, to LED's forthcoming success is the technology's core strengths. Simply put, in many applications, provide a better lighting solution, consume far less electricity, and last longer than incumbent solutions.

It is a matter of a superior technology winning.

LEDs have also benefited from the excellent distribution networks normally associated with semiconductors and electronic components. This existing distribution infrastructure helped get LEDs to designer and developers quickly and may have contributed to decrease LED's costs.

Good news for lighting designers, users

LEDs increasing acceptance, is really very good news for the engineers designing lighting solutions and the consumers or even hobbyists purchasing those systems. Since this growth is likely to fuel further improvements in LED performance and continued value in terms of LED prices.