The economics of LED.
Note: This section only applies to mainly street lights.
When LED is marketed, a common selling point is that it will save you energy. This may be true in some circumstances, but if you do the math then you'll find that the devil really is in the details. To show you why, let's do a calculation:
We be making some assumptions here, but I have made them fairly realistic.
To replace a HID streetlight with LED, it costs $200 upfront. (This includes the lineman's salary, the cost of running the bucket truck, and the fixture price)
The old fixture uses 100 watts and the LED one uses 50. (A typical replacement wattage)
This LED fixture will last 8 years of 8 hours of use per night (23360 hours)
The price of electricity per kilowatt is $.10. (This is slightly lower than the USA average, but green energy will surely lower the price)
Now let's do the calculation.
To figure out how much it's going to save, we need to find the saved watthours per day. Assuming 50 watts are saved when running, that's 400 watthours saved per night. If we combine this with the price of electricity, we now get a whopping 4 cents saved per day. (.40 kWh X $.10)
To pay off that 200 dollars, the fixture has to run for 5000 days, or over 13 years! That's only for initial payback, and this calculation didn't factor in early failures.
How's that for energy saving? ;)
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