The LED lighting revolution isn’t quite happening yet in the home, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t settling into certain commercial and industrial sectors.
For one company, Albeo Technologies, the focus on the industrial sector has reaped a 50-percent increase in revenue in 2011 and an increase in LED retrofits of 300 percent. In the LED space, Albeo is not alone. Redwood Systems, for example, saw year-over-year growth in sales of more than 300 percent, and Lighting Science Group produced 4.5 million LEDs in 2011, a 450-percent increase compared to 2010.
Albeo and others only expect that trend to continue in 2012, as cold storage facilities, data centers and other large retail and industrial sectors embrace LEDs. Jeff Bisberg, CEO of Albeo, said that cold storage and data centers are seeing a 1.5- to 2-year payback for LED lights, which is making them extremely attractive compared to high-bay, high-intensity discharge lamps. The Boulder-based company has lights in more than 7 million square feet of space.
Besides its industrial focus, the Albeo team says the secret to the firm's current success is in the modular solution that can fit any building design. “Light fixtures are the last thing to go into the building,” said Bisberg. “It has to conform to whatever is happening below.”
To offer customers the flexibility they’re looking for, Albeo says its flexible system can fit whatever the needs of the space are. And while Albeo offers controls as well, it is controls-agnostic, rather than focusing on the controls as the selling point. “The control technology is pretty mature,” argued Bisberg, “while the LED technology is still changing.”
In 2012, Albeo is “cautiously optimistic.” The success is expected to continue to come from retrofits, as well as the industrial sector, including food processing, large distribution warehouses and aircraft hangars. Once any sector starts to see about a 1.5-year payback, that’s when the mass adoption is happening, as it is with cold storage. A 2010 Enterprise LED Lighting report from Groom Energy and GTM Research also found that the market for LEDs in parking garages should start to mature going into 2012.
Outside of commercial and industrial applications, the interest is still nascent. There will be some groundwork laid in 2012, but GTM Research and Groom Energy see the period of 2013 to 2015 as the breakout years for those markets.
“The market is wide,” said Bisberg, “and there’s going to be a lot of winners. We’re pretty excited about the future.”