Corona, California—Darnell Group says the Department of Energy's (DOE) recent estimates of the near-term acceptance of light-emitting diodes for lighting are way off.
"The impending displacement of cold-cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFLs) by LED backlights in the laptop computer market is only one of the most visible indicators," counters Jeff Shepard, president of Darnell Group. "We analyzed over 50 application sub-segments in detail to arrive at our growth trajectories. Growth is accelerating in numerous market segments including video signs and billboards, automotive lighting, and others. Growth in these applications will drive down the cost of LEDs faster than anticipated by the DoE," said Shepard.
The DOE expects to see a significant market uptake for LED lighting in the next five years, followed by widespread adoption over the next 20 years. Darnell's analysis, on the other hand, has identified and quantified a major inflection point for rapidly accelerating adoption of LEDs in general illumination applications in the next few years.
Apart from that finding, Darnell says the LED driver market is expected to go "full circle." The procession will be from driving a small number of LEDs in handsets today, to larger numbers of LEDs as backlights in various LCD applications, to larger numbers of LEDs in the next stage of development in platforms such as automobiles and larger video displays. At the same time, the cost of LEDs will continue to drop dramatically until they finally become cost-effective for general illumination. The number of LEDs in a typical application will then drop back to where it is today, but for use in very-high-volume general illumination applications.
Currently, LED lamps "are at least two orders of magnitude more expensive than traditional light sources," making them several years away from significant market penetration for general illumination. There's also a temporary slowdown in the growth of the high-efficiency lighting market (including CCFLs and other technologies). Aggressive price erosion is occurring in the HB-LED market, which is expected to continue.
The results of Darnell's findings are included in their first edition of
LED Driver ICs: Application Drivers, Technology Developments & Product Introduction Trends. Additional information is available at http://www.darnell.com/leds.