As LED lighting and nearly all aspects of energy saving and/or renewable energy come into focus in the real world, we need to keep an eye on the economics of it all. You know the big players are. Big attention means big money and as you can see, lots of people want a slice of the action.
A quick synopsis of the above article could be: LEDs don’t work on their own…people need to buy other stuff. I have already written about one such component, the LED driver, in the past few weeks. Other than touching on drivers, the article also mentions other aspects of LED design including heat management, logic control and LED internals. Each of these parts of the whole design will need to ramp production in order to introduce economies of scale on each part level. The most striking number from the above article is that for every dollar spent on a LED (in this case a HB LED, used in commercial and residential lighting), the user must also spend $2-5 on auxillary components. This means that as the use of LEDs increase, so shall the semiconductor interest in driving those LEDs.
Another sign of this is chip makers entering traditionally non-lucrative markets. National Semiconductor has recently added a power management line of silicon aimed at taming the fickle nature of solar panels. When Nat’l enters the fray, you know they have projected some serious growth. So while my optimism for the entire subject of solar power is restrained, things like the new solar chips and the LED articles mentioned above make me happy. Hopefully we’ll see more news like this soon.