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Will LED bulbs cost less than a CFL by 2020?

Will LED bulbs cost less than a compact fluorescent bulb by 2020? As Adele said in a hit song—“Rumor has it.” While she wasn’t singing about LED lamps like I am, rumor has it the price of LED lamps will be lower than compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) by 2020, even without energy company rebates. The latest data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows how quickly the LED prices have fallen since 2010. At this rate, we will approach price parity with CFLs around the end of the decade. Wow! News like this is so exciting.

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On the flip side, a 2012 report from the U.S. Department of Energy, forecasts that LEDs will make up only 36 percent of lumen-hour sales in the lighting market in 2020. While not inspirational, the DOE has already revised its projections upward three times in the past five years.

I, Dr. Bulb, believe consumers will embrace LED lamps in a way that CFLs never achieved. CFLs, which were basically the only energy efficient option, were a let down based on color rendering, warm up time, and lack of longevity when exposed to frequent on-off cycles. LEDs should dodge most if not all of these issues. With equivalent light levels, reasonable cost, longevity, and energy savings, LEDs are worth a try.

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