The news out of Lightfair International (the lighting industry tradeshow) is that Lighting Science will soon introduce a 60-watt equivalent LED bulb in the “affordable” $30-40 range.
I used to live in a rental house with two five-bulb chandeliers – hey, don’t blame me, it was a 1910 Victorian, and I certainly didn’t design the lighting situation. The chandeliers came with 60-watt incandescent bulbs when I moved in. To replace those with these “affordable” LED bulbs would cost $300! That would not have been affordable on my post-college graduate starting salary.
I know, I know. The value of the bulb is best expressed over time since they’ll likely last 15 years, plus there are all those negative externalities associated with wasted energy in incandescent bulbs. So in the end it’s cheaper to get the LED bulbs. Honestly, though, none of these arguments would’ve convinced me to drop $300 on new lightbulbs for the fixtures in my rental home.
The most positive aspect about the price point is that it’s lower than before and is descending over time. At some point these bulbs become cheap enough that large power providers can buy them in bulk and give them away to consumers as a way to reduce the electricity demand. Free is definitely a price I’d pay for these bulbs.