Image of a solar array

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Chris Clarke at KCET puts up a pretty compelling argument for shifting government funding from power generation to buying LED Lighting for the public.  In his post on comparing the cost of buying the bulbs vs. the cost of power generation  he runs through the numbers and it would appear that the government would see a better return on investment if it were to buy led bulbs in bulk and made them available to everybody.

Here are some highlights.

On buying high-end LED bulbs:

“You’ve conserved 50 watts worth of demand, which is mathematically equivalent to buying a little 50 watt power plant with your $60. That works out to $1.20 a watt for the retail price of that relatively expensive bulb.”

On investing in home solar power:

“The cost of installing rooftop solar in California depends to some degree on how much you install, but it’s  in the neighborhood of $6 per watt of capacity.”

On investing in solar power plants:

“The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, for instance, being built by BrightSource: in the California desert, is the lucky recipient of $1.6 billion in DOE loan guarantees. When finished, that plant will have a generating capacity of 392 megawatts.”

That works out to $4.08 per watt.

“If the DOE had taken that 1.6 billion and spent it buying the above-mentioned Philips LED bulb to replace old-school 60 watt bulbs with, even if the government paid retail, it would have cut potential energy consumption by 1,333 megawatts and change, almost a gigawatt more power than the Ivanpah project would generate.”

Source: Can Efficient Lighting Be More Cost-Effective Than Building New Generation?