GE phasing out CFL bulbs in favour of LED
GE has announced plans to phase out the sale and production of compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) across the United States by the end of 2016, focusing instead on marketing LED lightbulbs. CFL bulbs were used as replacement bulbs for banned incandescent bulbs, and were widely used in energy-efficiency programs, because the price of LED bulbs was comparatively high.
As the light quality of LED lightbulbs improved over time, and prices decreased steadily due to various government initiatives, retailers began to prefer LED bulbs over other technologies, and consumers have followed suit. Sam's Club, Walmart and other retailers are already providing fewer CFL options on shelves, and Ikea has abandoned CFLs altogether - selling only LED lightbulbs since 2015, writes Fabian Hoelzenbein, market analyst for IHS Inc, in his latest Research Note.
There has also been a recent change in regulations for the Energy Star rating, which will make it harder for CFL bulbs to qualify for associated Energy-Star rebates. Since energy efficiency is rewarded, continuing to manufacture less-efficient CFL bulbs would not be a profitable activity for GE.
While CFLs were more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, they lack proper dimming, are slow to warm up, and the quality of the light was not impressive. Most CFL bulbs also use mercury in their manufacture, which makes them harder to dispose of safely.
IHS estimates that LED bulbs will account for more than half of all light bulbs installed across North America by 2023, and there will be a lot of focus on smart, connected LED lightbulbs and fixtures.
CFL lamps accounted for 23 percent of all lamps shipped in North America in 2015, while LED bulbs comprised 10 percent; however, by 2023 CFL shipments will fall to 9 percent, while LED lightbulb shipments will rise to 70 percent.
More than 60 percent of GE's current lighting products are CFL, halogen and incandescent, so it's a bold -- but potentially very rewarding move - for GE to start phasing out CFL production in the US and start focusing more on LED bulbs. GE is expected to soon extend their phase out of CFLs to Europe and parts of Latin America, including Mexico.