Has LED Lighting Finally Arrived?

17 Oct

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been around for a while but their manufacturing cost prohibited their practical use for consumer lighting applications. Since LEDs use about 85% less energy and last 30 times longer than conventional light bulbs, many companies have been interested in the technology. Phillips Lighting among them. According to the Wall Street Journal,

Philips Lighting, part of Netherlands-based Royal Philips Electronics, sees LEDs as the future. It has spent $4.2 billion in LED company acquisitions over the past two years. Philips has been one of the largest manufacturers of compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, another energy-efficient alternative to incandescent lighting.

Given the cost of producing LEDs is coming down and they use about half as much energy and last five times longer than compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), their use in commercial applications may have arrived. When you consider the cost associated with lighting that is on for extended time periods (and in some cases, all of the time) plus the labor cost associated with changing the light bulbs, LEDs may now be the less expensive alternative.

Resource: WSJ article published Sept. 15, 2008, Bright Future – Thanks to improved technology, LEDs may be ready to take off.

The Power of Solar

17 Oct

It is no longer uncommon for those using solar energy systems to sell excess electricity generated back to the power companies. It is, however, uncommon to see a local news story about a hardware store owner doing so.

The hardware store owner is located in an ideal area; St. Augustine, Florida. Will we see green shopping centers developed in the near future where all of the retail stores obtain electricity from alternative energy sources? The developer could generate cash flow while stores are temporarily vacant or sell the electricity to the store owners at a reduced rate to recuperate the initial capital investment. Banks might even be more willing to provide the loans given the additional cash flow source for the developer and the bank under a foreclosure situation.

The following video, pointed out to us by Raymond Chiu, covers the story:


Will “Green Banks” emerge? Say banks that specialize in funding this type of development. Or, will investment companies emerge that install and own the electricity for shopping centers; mini-power companies. If you are an investor interested in running the numbers, please contact us. We can create a financial model (spreadsheet analysis) to determine the rate of return. According to the news story above, 70 percent of the cost of the panels was paid by the government – OK, now we have your attention.