When Will the Energy Industry Realize the Full Potential of LED?

Jeff Perkins, ERS, for Zondits

My time doing market research in the semiconductor industry was one of the most fascinating phases of my career so far. As an “energy” guy at heart, I was most drawn to the “compound semiconductor” space with rapid advances in power electronics (driven by advances in SiC) and LED chips. LED especially ‒ from sapphire crystal growth (the LED substrate of choice) to LED chip manufacturing to the lighting industry, the whole value chain was on fire. As the LED chip manufacturers ran headlong into an installed base and an overly cautious building industry, that friction just added more heat.

That was 8 years ago. High brightness LED (HB-LED) chip development was driven by flat screen TVs and PC displays, while revenue related to general lighting lagged seriously at around $0.5B. I still follow the news in Semiconductor Today because it matters to our industry. LED chip manufacturing has continued to make major breakthroughs in cost and performance, and the projections in the article below have HB-LED chip revenues hitting $13B with associated lighting sales (that’s our space, folks) reaching $40B in 2017. While this is exciting news, for me it brings forth what I have always said: As an industry we are still too cautious and are not realizing the full potential of LED. Until we insist that every LED installation include advanced controls we are only getting a small portion of the savings that we should. One of the first articles I posted on Zondits made that point. The LED chip industry is doing its part – it is up to all of us to do ours!

High-brightness LED production value to grow at 3.7% CAGR to $15.25bn in 2021

Semiconductor Today, November 29, 2016

The value of global high-brightness LED chip production will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.7% from $13.179bn in 2017 to $15.25bn in 2021, according to Digitimes Research.

While Germany’s Osram Opto Semiconductors and China-based first-tier manufacturers will expand production capacity for high-brightness LED chips, China-based makers are expected to trigger price-cut competition, and hence global production value for such chips will grow moderately during 2017-2021, Digitimes Research says. In particular, overall production of LEDs in China is forecast to grow rapidly at a CAGR of 16.2% from CNY620bn ($92.5bn) in 2017 to CNY1300bn in 2021.

In terms of high-brightness LED chip applications, lighting and automotive lighting/displays will grow at a CAGR of 12% and 11.3%, respectively, in global production value during 2017-2021. In contrast, handset and LCD TV backlighting applications will remain flat in 2017 and then begin declining in 2018. IT product backlighting will slip 5-10% each year, whereas indoor/outdoor display applications will rise 0-5% each year.

For LED lighting in particular, the global market will grow from $40.424bn in 2017 to $70.51bn in 2021, with the penetration of all lighting products rising from 36.7% to 70.2%, forecasts the report.

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