Prospects of Lighting Industry in India

Now-a-days, India struggles to meet the increasing electricity demand with its exceptional growth in the economy leading to build more power plants for sustaining the higher electricity demand of its widely growing population…

Being the second most populous country and fifth major electricity consumer, India has been witnessing widening electricity demand-supply gap. A substantial portion of world’s total electricity generation is consumed for lighting by illumination sources and systems alone. The consumption is continue to increase due to emergence of new areas of applications such as Entertainment Lighting, Advertisement Lighting, Biological Lighting, Aqua Tissue Culture, etc. However, the production of electricity cannot be increased beyond certain limits due to fast depletion of natural resources. It is, therefore, essential that the appliances consuming less electricity, and also using natural sources of electricity like sun, wind etc need to be developed. New technologies are being continuously used to improve lighting efficiency and energy conservation. Lighting is the single most important element in the visual environment. Effective lighting improves productivity and strengthens security. Lighting consumes upto 40 percent of the energy used in our buildings. A well designed lighting system reduces energy, maintenance, and potential liability costs. Both public and private interests are served by more effective lighting and reduced operating costs. Rapid improvements in lighting systems and equipment offer potential solutions, yet they have also made lighting practice more complex. On the other hand, the use of inefficient light sources and controls, and the wasteful usage of lighting results in polluting the environment leading to global warming.

Growth Potential for LED Industry

  LED lights have been growing at such a big rate all over the world. Certainly, India is no exception. In reality, LED lighting has vast potential in India owing to power shortages and high electricity costs. Now-a-days, India struggles to meet the increasing electricity demand with its exceptional growth in the economy leading to build more power plants for sustaining the higher electricity demand of its widely growing population. But there is also another very simple solution; just change light bulbs to the new LED technology and this can surprisingly reduce the country’s electricity demand by as much as 40 percent. With the biggest benefit of energy saving, long lamp life and environment friendly technology, LEDs would notably lessen the lighting load, peak demand and overall energy consumption of India, even without compromising on the environment and safety. As India has been declared as one of the polluted countries in the world, such eco-friendly aspect of LED lighting would definitely add more strength to the future growth of Indian LED light segment. As such, usage of energy efficient products such as LED lighting products is expected to grow in the coming years. Moreover, rising government support and introduction of innovative LED lighting products by manufacturers has resulted in reduction in prices of these products, thereby, offering consumers with more options to choose from, according to their needs and preferences. Rising government initiatives, increasing awareness among customers regarding lower power consumption of LED lighting products, and innovative product offerings to drive LED lighting sales is evident from the figure 1.

  Considering the growth potential of LED industry based on the above figures wherein a growth rate of 50 % was recorded in 2015, the LED lighting market in India is projected to register a CAGR of 26.6% during 2017-23. Basis for this projection is due to rise in personal disposable income, growing government initiatives encouraging use of LED lights, and focus on Smart City Projects. For instance, Government of India announced plans to develop additional 30 cities under Smart City Mission, totaling to 90 cities. Further, recently in September, 2017 Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana – Saubhagya, with an aim to provide electricity free of cost to over four crore underprivileged families in rural and urban areas by December 2018. These initiatives are expected to further increase government emphasis on energy efficient lighting products such as LEDs in the coming years. Favourable government initiatives and policies through state and national level programs that offer LED lighting products at subsidized rates is contributing in a huge way towards boosting LED adoption in the country. In India, not a complete ban, but through the Ujala Scheme launched in 2016 decided to replace 770 million incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs by 2019. This is expected to reduce energy consumption by over 100 billion kWh annually and reduce annual electricity bills by `400 billion (US$6.2 billion). As of April 2017, 229 million LED bulbs had been distributed across the country. The states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka in India have banned the use of incandescent bulbs in government departments, public sector undertakings, various boards, cooperative institutions, local bodies, and institutions running on government aid. Further, under Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), 273 lakhs LED bulbs are to be distributed to BPL households.

Vision for Development of LED or Lighting Industry

  During deliberation on the subject, there are two specific major issues – education and testing – which need to be addressed to develop lighting industry in general and LED industry, in particular.

Skilled Manpower or Lighting Professionals

  More specifically, if we talk about the latest light source – the LED, there is likely to be exponential growth in next five years. This will require significant number of trained lighting professionals under various disciplines- designing, manufacturing, quality, marketing, and so on. The above graph clearly indicates that the lighting industry in India is in its maturing stages. With an estimated market of about ` 20,000 crore, the lighting industry is witnessing tremendous growth. Further, in LED segment alone, there is a growth of more than 80 %. As such the main issue being faced by LED industry is the lack of skilled manpower. But regrettably nothing much has been done to develop the professionals or skilled manpower in this vital field of lighting or LED or solar energy, who can further progress with more scientific and innovative approach.

Industry Requirement Employment Opportunities

  The lighting industry is now poised to take a broad look into the future by considering the diverse trends and uncertainties acting among its many constituents. The lighting industry needs to play a critical role so in the context of the larger issues of energy, health and sustainable growth. However, till now unfortunately, there is a lack of formal education in this vital field. Since as mentioned in the earlier paragraphs, the lighting has been taken for granted as other commodities, the necessity of formal education is not felt so far. With the advancement in technology and the presence of lighting in the form of electromagnetic waves in all spheres of life, starting from lighting as illumination for proper visibility to the communication by mobile phones through satellite, the necessity of formal education is being felt by users as well as industries to achieve following objectives:

• Productive man force from day 1 of joining employment 
• Higher standards in delivering quality of service 
• Reduced in- house training cost due to industry ready personnel

Present Scenario

  There’s more to lighting than meets the eye. Lighting is not just about lamps and fixtures, it is a complete subject in itself to understand the art and science of lighting for a particular environment. However, there are only few institutions or universities in India who are providing only one of the elective subjects on Illumination Engineering or Technology. At one or two places, the PG Programs are being run, but these are also on the Illumination Engineering or Technology and not on lighting technology or management. As per information available till date, the following institutes are imparting lighting education of different levels.

1. Jadavpur University: School of Illumination Science, Engineering and Design

  Established in December 1999, the school is running a two years’ PG Program of Master of Illumination Engineering. Also at the under graduate level, the Illumination Engineering is being taught as an elective subject.

2. Manipal University: Manipal Institute of Technology

  A two years’ MTech Program in Energy Management, Auditing & Lighting is being conducted by the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering. One subject as elective in the Illumination Technology at BE level is also being offered at this institute.

3. MIT School of Technology Management (Lighting & Energy), Pune

  PG Diploma in Management (Lighting Technology & Energy Management).

  Considering the vacuum of lighting professionals, specifically, for the management roles, this unique Techno-Managerial Program is being conducted at MIT, Pune. In this two years full time program, both management and technology have been blended – the majors being lighting and marketing and the minor is energy. The syllabi includes 45 % contents on each marketing management and lighting technology & management and remaining 10 % on energy management.

4. Mumbai / Pune University

  Lighting / Illumination as one of the elective subject in BE Electrical Course is being taught at under graduate level in few colleges under Mumbai / Pune University.

5. Architectural & Interior Design Schools

  Few colleges like SNDT, Raheja, Rachna Sansad, Mumbai, Bharati Vidyapeeth PG College of Architecture, Pune etc are also teaching lighting – as one of the subjects. Similarly, NID Ahmedabad and Delhi also teaches lighting.

Testing Facilities

  In spite of bold claims on performance and life of LED light sources even by multi-nationals, it is a fact that they do not prove to be up to their claims. This has led to doubt in the mind of the users who opt for LED in spite of high cost. A summary of performance of LEDs in a reputed laboratory is appended in figures 2 and 3.

Figure 2: Data – Luminous Efficacy

The maximum value observed was 120 lm/W and minimum value observed was 28 lm/W. The data variation implies that there is large variation between different samples and this is mainly due to usages of LED chips of different efficacy (lm/W) and lumen packages, and thermal management design.

Figure 3: Data – CRI

The maximum value observed was 87 and minimum value observed was 61. The data variation is not much if we compare Maximum, Minimum and Median data of each year and is mainly due to good colour properties of LED chip.

  Considering the varied performance of LED and its aggregates, specifically, which are being dumped in the country from China, Korea and other South Asian Countries, Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Government of India has already declared LED Light Source under their Star Rating Program. On a study, it is seen that very few accredited testing facilities are available in the country. As such without adequate testing facilities, such programs may not result in effective implementation. Further to improve quality and reliability, there is a need of standardisation with the following objectives:

Standards & Regulations Performance characteristics

• Photometry: luminous flux, light intensity distribution 
• Color: Chromaticity (cx, cy), Correlated Color Temperature (CCT)
• Color Rendering Index (CRI), Color Uniformity 
• Thermal: Light output changes with Temperature Efficacy (Calculated) 
• Durability • Lumen maintenance, color stability 
• Subsystem and system efficiency degradation Reliability 
• Rated life Safety 
• Prevention of fire and shock hazards 
• Photo biological safety EMC
• Harmonics, surge


  Although the Government is encouraging industries or institutes or industry associations to develop educational and testing facilities, it has not got satisfactory results. Apart from above to bring confidence in the mind of the users, following aspects also need to be addressed:

• Increase energy efficiency in India to create consumer awareness for LED lamps and luminaires and thereby generate demand for them, to bring down the power consumption at the national level. 
• Quality Benchmark Develop Standard and Laboratories for LED Testing, lay down standards for imported and indigenously manufactured parts and create our quality benchmark for exporting Make in India LED products.
• Local demand increase manufacturing capability to cater to the local Indian market to discourage importing sub-standard parts and products. 
• Technical advancement keeps the stakeholders aware of recent advancements in the field of LEDs through seminars, conferences, workshops, bulletins on website etc.
• Cost efectiveness be instrumental in bringing down the cost of LEDs in India to make it affordable for commercial and domestic use through monitoring, smart controls and a common pool of resources.
• Global presence provide impetus for India to rise on the world map for quality and safe LED products and its contribution to a cleaner and greener environment. It is further felt that there is a huge potential for the unemployed rural youth to train them for the operation and maintenance of all these solar systems empowering them to solve their problems at their community level.

  Although tremendous scope or potential exists, but considering the present status of MSMEs in solar and LED which includes manufacturers, assemblers, designers, academicians and students, nothing much has been done in this direction to develop infrastructural facilities specifically in the areas of skill development and quality monitoring. An integrating approach is, therefore, required to promote and form a consortium of solar, and LED professionals or MSMEs. Although Indian Society of Lighting Engineers (ISLE) is instrumental in developing academic courses since 1988, still there appears to be a lack of interest in students and their parents to opt for career in this upcoming field.

If you want to share thoughts or feedback then please leave a comment below.