There is a silent LED revolution going on in India.
Andhra Pradesh has installed approximately 20 lakh LED street lights in the urban and rural areas and now wants to install another 10 lakh of them across the state.
In a press release, the media advisor (energy) of the government, stated that the programme would alter the way villages look. Brighter streets would provide the residents with a better feeling of security. The financial benefits? Around Rs 500 crore, and energy savings of 333 MU in the next decade.
So what are these LED lights?
LED (Light Emitting Diode) street lights are supposedly more energy efficient compared to conventional street lighting fixtures. They can produce the same or higher amount of luminance than a traditional light, using half the power. Another advantage is that LED lights do not fail —their output gradually decreases when they need to be replaced.
The Ministry of Power released a statement in April last year, which outlined a policy wherein 21 lakh street lights across the nation would be installed under the Street Light National Programme. The initiative is expected to lead to an annual energy savings of 295 million units.
How are LED lights more advantageous than conventional street lights?
1) Longer Lasting:
LEDs don’t have filaments that can burn out quickly, and thus, have remarkably long lives. It is because of this long shelf-life, that LEDs are sought-after, for places where replacing light bulbs is expensive or difficult. Using LEDs on street lights will ensure luminance for extended periods of time, with minimal maintenance routines.
2) Less heat:
LED street lights are cooler than the conventional CFLs. While they do get hot, the heat is dispersed by metal heat sinks that wick away the heat from the light source itself.
This is great because, in a tropical country like ours, regular bulbs just add to the overall temperature and heat. In fact, LED lights are cool to the touch, unlike conventional bulbs. You can unscrew an LED bulb that has been on for days, with your bare hands!
3) Better colour rendering:
A colour rendering index measures the ability of a light source to reveal the colours of various items when compared to an ideal or natural light source, which means the colours and shades are more pronounced. This improved colour rendering is beneficial for drivers as it helps them to recognise objects.
4) Immediate light:
Have you ever noticed how street lights take time to reach optimum brightness after being turned on? That issue is eliminated with LEDs. That is because unlike conventional lights, LEDs don’t need the time to heat up, once switched on. Instant full brightness is an advantage street lights could use.
5) Fewer bugs:
We have all seen the continuous cluster of bugs, around street lamps. While most of the insects lose their lives, this creates serious issues at times—an insect can short-circuit or spoil a light fitting. LEDs attract little to no insects, as they don’t have UV content.
6) Energy savings:
The most vital reason the authorities are pushing for LED street lights, is because of the energy savings possible. In our nation, there is a huge gap in electricity. Producing more, because people need it, isn’t a viable option.
A study carried out in 2014, in the US, showed that if public lighting is replaced by LEDs, the electricity savings potential is around 4.8 TWh in 2020.
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The humble LED light, is making its presence felt, in our homes and now on our streets. Andhra Pradesh is leading the way, followed by Rajasthan, Gujarat, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh. One hopes that this magical little source of light, will illuminate the way for the thousands of kilometres of roads in India’s cities, towns and villages.