Christa Marshall, E&E reporter
Published: Monday, February 1, 2016
Energy giant General Electric Co. announced today it is discontinuing manufacturing of compact fluorescent light bulbs for the U.S. market and shifting its focus toward LED lighting.
“We’re at the tipping point with LED as adoption accelerates, so there is immense market opportunity,” the company said in a fact sheet. “LED prices have come down dramatically over the past 5 years to be comparable with CFL bulbs.”
CFLs were an initial alternative to incandescent bulbs, but they sometimes faced consumer complaints about everything from their appearance to containing small amounts of mercury.
LEDs, or light-emitting diodes, also outperform CFLs on factors like instant brightness and ability to dim, and many CFLs may not be compliant with new Energy Star specifications that raise efficiency levels for the lighting industry, according to GE.
Megan Lavelle, as spokeswoman for GE Lighting, said that the company has not yet decided to phase out CFLs in places like Latin America. It also is working with its retail partners like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to transition from CFLs to LEDs.
The phaseout will occur in stages through this year. Some retailers like Sam’s Club will be 100 percent LED by the end of the year, GE said.
According to the Department of Energy, U.S. deployment of LED lighting grew nearly 90 times between 2009 and 2013.
Last week, Bloomberg also reported that GE is moving away from its core business of selling lighting products to customers in favor of “advanced” commercial lighting products (Greenwire, Jan. 27).