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Eco-lighting – a fast growing business opportunity within green buildings


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I had, in a post, written about an innovative lighting solutions company called Skyshade that uses direct sunlight to provide sustainable lighting solutions. I had also written another post on the enormous business potential green buildings present.

While solutions such as Skyshade are indeed pioneering ones, they are hardly alone when it comes to sustainable and environment friendly lighting solutions.

As you will surely be knowing, there are a diverse set of applications lights are being used for, the prominent ones being

  • Street Lights
  • Flood Lights
  • Room Lights
  • Garden Lights
  • Table Lights
  • Decorative Lighting
  • Special Purpose Lighting – mostly at industrial, institutional and commercial sectors

Overall, India’s lighting market is expected to grow at top speed for the next 4-5 years, at about a CAGR of 28%, that’s indeed an impressive number for growth.

In India, the total market size for lighting is about $2 billion (about Rs 12000 crores) as of end 2013. As this market moves towards sustainable products, one can see a large % of lighting solutions become green. While no firm statistics exist today for the % that green lighting market constitutes of the total lighting market (partly because there is no clear definition of what constitutes green lighting), an analysis by EAI suggests that LEDs still constitute about 10% of the total (about Rs 1000 crores) and CFLs about 20% of total (about Rs 2500 crores).

What is more interesting is that the % of lighting that is green is growing fast; while in 2008, less than 15% of all lighting belonged to CFLs+LEDs, by 2013, this % had become almost 30%.

Data presented above pertain mainly to the core lighting systems and hardware. But remember, while discussing eco and sustainable lighting, it is not just the hardware/lights/lamps alone that add value. More and more, software solutions are increasingly playing a role in making the lighting eco-system efficient and sustainable.

Such fast growth of new technologies and avenues in the eco-lighting segment has resulted in a significant amount of interest among entrepreneurs.

In fact, if one were to explore which area within the larger green buildings opportunity spectrum is witnessing high amounts of innovation and startup activity, sustainable/eco lighting comes pretty much on top of the list.

EAI’s Consulting Division provides special assistance for entrepreneurs/businesses interested in exploring opportunities in the sustainable and eco-lighting domain. See here for more.

And the reason is not far to seek. Unlike many other parts of an office or factory building infrastructure, retrofitting lighting solutions is relatively easy. And lighting typically accounts for anywhere between 20-40% of a commercial building’s energy use. These essentially mean that sustainable lighting not only presents a clear economic business case, it is also easier to solve technically/operationally than those such as heating and air-conditioning.

Market Potential & Highlights for Eco-lighting Solutions in India

  • EAI estimates the total value for eco-lighting products and solutions to be over $45 billion worldwide by 2015 and about $500 million ( Rs 3000 crores) in India
  • Attractive niches include the following sectors – hotel and hospitality, healthcare, airline segments, IT parks, educational institutions, and factories.
  • In India, with energy efficiency high on the agenda of many state governments, and the central government, energy efficient and environment friendly lighting will become as much an obligation as a need for most commercial and industrial buildings. A great place to start for all these entities would be lighting.
  • Some specific domains within lighting could be quite attractive to the IT/Software professionals. For instance, we estimate that the  lighting control systems alone to be a $35 million market in India by 2015

Expanding a bit on the last point, what is also exciting about the eco-lighting space is that it provides numerous opportunities for small and medium enterprises to have a go at it. The fact that software and IT could provide critical value-adds in this space only cements its attractiveness for small and medium entrepreneurs in India, some of whom have a good grasp of the software domain. For instance, I regularly get calls from IT professionals keen on starting up something in cleantech. Working in the intersection of IT & cleantech could be a great way to start for them. And it could be rewarding too – just recall the recent purchase of NEST by Google for $3.2 billion.

Interested in knowing more on how to take your first steps in this domain? To help you, EAI has dedicated special resources within its specialty consulting team to assist those keen on exploring the eco-lighting domain further. Check out our consulting assistance for this niche from here.

See also: an interesting emerging cleantech segment – Building Energy Analytics

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Narasimhan Santhanam

Thank you for reading this post – hope it was helpful. You can connect with me at narsi@solarmango.com . My detailed profile here and my LinkedIn profile here

Posted in: Energy Efficiency, Green Buildings

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