Nowadays, LEDs are ubiquitous. Whether we’re talking about a football stadium, a street light, or nightlight, LEDs are used virtually anywhere lighting is needed.
What most people don’t know is that LEDs are also at the forefront of an “illumination revolution” in developing countries throughout the world.
While we live in a technologically driven society, we may not realize that access to safe and reliable electricity remains one of the key challengers plaguing more than 1.5 billion people in developing countries around the world.
Where do LEDs fit in?
According to International Finance Corporation, 2.1 million LED-solar products have been sold in countries that lack access to electrical grids.
In Africa — A growing portion of the more than 1 billion people living without reliable sources of electricity now have access to lights, thanks in part to LED technology. Nearly 5 percent of Africans without access to electricity — or some 28.5 million people — now use solar-powered LED lights.
A women in Senegal charges her cellphone using a port in her solar-powered LED lantern.
In India — Pollinate Energy has one simple mission: improve the lives of India’s urban poor by providing access to sustainable technologies, including solar lights and improved stoves for cooking.
With the help of LEDs and kerosene-free cooking equipment, local Indian communities can save money, experience reduced indoor smoke and enjoy better lights in homes and businesses.
Pollinate has already helped more than 25,000 people in Bangalore switch to solar LED lighting in their homes.
So how are LEDs changing the equation?
Eight to 10 years ago, the high cost of LEDs made them unrealistic for use in applications like this. But the efficiency of LEDs is rising, and prices are dropping, finally allowing LEDs to become a viable option.
The shift is taking place thanks to sapphire — the foundation for more than 95 percent of high brightness white LEDs. Large diameter sapphire wafers and patterned sapphire substrates contribute to greater efficiency and lower costs for LED lighting.