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LEDs have made a massive inroad into households across India as their distribution under a government scheme increasingly gains ground. Current schemes can save 80 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually

Distribution of 40 million LED bulbs in Indian homes has helped save energy amounting to over 14.5 million KWh per day (Image by SABIC)

Just about a year ago, the Domestic Efficient Lighting Programme (DELP) was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The aim was to replace all 770 million incandescent bulbs used in homes and 35 million streetlights with LEDs over three years.

This, it was hoped, would result in a reduction of 20,000 MW load, energy savings of 105 billion KWh and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions savings of 80 million tonnes every year. The annual saving in electricity bills of consumers, it was estimated, would be Rs 40,000 crore, considering an average tariff of Rs 4 per kWh.

The initiative is very much on track.

By December 2015, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a public energy services company under the administration of Ministry of Power, announced that it had crossed the 40 million mark of distributing LED bulbs in India within a span of 25 days. Plans are afoot to complete the 50 million mark by the end of January 2016. “Our target is to reach 6 crore (60 million) by March 2016 and going by the pace, we are hopeful of achieving this too,” said Saurabh Kumar, Managing Director, EESL.

According to EESL, the distribution of these bulbs has helped save energy worth more than 14.5 million KWh per day. It has also helped in avoiding peak demand of 1,326 MW, apart from saving Rs 5.71 crore leading to a carbon reduction of 11,570 tonnes of carbon emissions daily.

The scheme which ended on December 31, 2015, has been a resounding success. Explaining the reason, Kumar said, “We believe people were ready for change. Change in terms of moving from incandescent light to LED bulbs.”

Price problem solved

Due to the higher price of LED bulbs, it was not affordable by the middle income group. With the lighting scheme (DELP), LEDs can now become a reality for the majority of the population. Moreover, EESL could bring down prices by 75% only through a combination of aggregation and transparent procurement and pass this benefit to consumers. In addition, the thrust is also to bring down the 7 watt LED bulb price in the retail market (currently Rs 300) so that there is sustainable market for them, Kumar added.

Another factor which attracted consumers to the scheme was its easy enrolment policy. All people need to do is provide a photocopy of the latest electricity bill, a photo ID proof and residence proof. In case of on-bill financing, since advance cash is needed, the balance is recovered from the electricity bill or full amount in case of upfront payment for each LED. “Since all these documents are readily available with the consumers, they do not create much confusion,” Kumar said.

How it works

Through this scheme, residential consumers are provided with LED bulbs at a concessional rate of Rs 100 to Rs 105 as against the market price of Rs 350 to 450. The scheme has significantly impacted the market price of LED bulbs. EESL has been able to procure LED bulbs for Rs 73 from June 2015, down from Rs 310 in February 2014.

Elaborating on the ways in which the scheme is being promoted, Kumar said, “As part of our strategy, before we foray into any city, we do massive advertising through radio jingles, print ads, door-to-door campaigns such as distributing brochures, placards, banners, which help the consumers to know more about the scheme. The ads also detail the distribution centres and where the customer can go in order to avail of the scheme.”

On the DELP website, consumers can find the distribution centres, the number of bulbs distributed and figures on the amount of energy and money saved.

LED rush in states

Starting with Rajasthan, Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, the DELP scheme is now also in Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala.

Though all states have been doing well, there has been an increase in the uptake of LED bulbs especially in Delhi (4,480,195), Rajasthan (5,485,088), Andhra Pradesh (13,463,564), Uttar Pradesh (5,534,064) and Himachal Pradesh (3,698,778).


The DELP scheme called HosaBelaku was launched in Karnataka on December 11 and already, more than 106,000 LED bulbs have been distributed.

Andhra Pradesh Southern Power Distribution Company, (APSPDCL) won the National Award for the Best Discom in implementation of DELP, in five districts of the state. Of the 43.1 million LED bulbs distributed by December 31, 2015, 13.76 million were distributed in Andhra Pradesh alone.

Ajay Jain, Secretary, Energy, Infrastructure & Investment Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, said, “So far, we have completed distribution of 1.5 crore (15 million) LED bulbs to 75 lakh (750,000) consumers in the state, in just 18 months, compared to the national level, which is 5.5. crore (55 million). Our target is to complete the LED programme of distributing 2 crore (20 million) LED bulbs to 1 crore (10 million) families by March 31, 2016. This is likely to reduce peak demand in the grid by 500 MW and energy savings of around 1,100 Million Units (MU) annually.”

“Till now, around Rs 500 crore has been spent in this financial year (2014-15) on this programme in AP. This includes DELP and the LED street lighting scheme,” Jain told

Chandra Sekhara Reddy, CEO, State Energy Conservation Mission, Government of Andhra Pradesh, added, “Under the DELP scheme, two LED bulbs of 9W capacity worth Rs 600 in the open market are distributed at a nominal price of Rs 10 each to the households. The consumers are expected to save around Rs 500 to Rs 800 annually in their electricity bills. The programme was launched in 10 districts in two phases, wherein 137.66 lakh (13.766 million) LED bulbs have been distributed as on December 31, 2015.”

In Rajasthan, the government announced that around six million LED bulbs have been distributed resulting in an annual power saving of 730 million units. Principal secretary Sanjay Malhotra said that under DELP, 7 Watt LED bulbs were distributed to the consumers at a discounted rate of Rs 100 per bulb.

Moreover, in the Har Ghar Bijli, Discom Aapke Dwar scheme which was operational from August 30 to October 15 last year, 284,000 domestic connections were given. The Discoms initiated the ‘pre-paid meter scheme’ and so far, 4,869 pre-paid meters have been installed across Rajasthan.

The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) recently announced that it would launch a massive LED promotion drive aiming at daily savings of 350 MW on peak-hour demand and 400 MU a year. The Rs 150-crore initiative, scheduled to take off in January, will form the third season of the Labhaprabha Energy Conservation Programme, Power Minister Aryadan Mohammed said.

Modelled on the DELP scheme, the Labhaprabha programme will enable domestic consumers to buy 9 Watt LED bulbs at Rs 95 per piece. These will be distributed free of charge to 600,000 families that consume less than 40 units a month and have a connected load below 1,000 Watts. Under the scheme, each household will be supplied two bulbs.

Global revenue from LEDs

A recent finding by Navigant Research — a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets — has revealed that global revenue from LED lighting systems is expected to total $216 Billion from 2015 to 2024.

Jesse Foote, a senior research analyst with Navigant Research, said, “While the report did not give specific data for India, it does provide a breakdown for the Asia Pacific region. The comparable number in that region is a total of $114 billion from 2015 to 2024.”

China is by far the largest portion of that total, but India is expected to make up a large portion as well, with a comparatively low adoption rate of LEDs currently that is expected to increase significantly by 2024. Navigant Research expects that falling LED prices will lead to faster adoption with cost-conscious consumers in India. There is also significant potential in India for LEDs to be utilised with renewable energy systems in locations with unreliable or limited access to grid electricity.

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