Over 361.3 million LED bulbs have been distributed across India, and 10.3 million smart LED streetlights have been installed under the UJALA and LED Street Lighting National Program at an estimated energy savings of 6.97 billion kWh/year, according to the Ministry of Power (MoP).
According to the MoP, the initiative taken under UJALA has resulted in estimated energy savings of 46.92 billion kWh/ year (avoiding the peak demand of 9,394 MW) and an estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction of 38 million CO2 annually.
Rising energy expenditure has been an issue in India, and one of the most overlooked reasons for this has been energy efficiency. To promote energy efficiency, the government has launched programs like UJALA LED Street Lighting National Program which have helped the country in increasing its energy savings significantly. Launched in January 2015, the government’s zero subsidies UJALA and LED Street Lighting National Program marked its fifth anniversary recently.
UJALA was set up to promote efficient use of energy at the residential level and enhance consumer awareness so they can choose efficient equipment and reduce energy bills, thereby helping to conserve the environment. When launched, the UJALA program targeted replacing 770 million conventional lighting solutions with LEDs. Further, UJALA targeted savings of 100 billion units of electricity and reducing installed capacity by 20,000 MW and mitigate the emission of 79 million tons in greenhouse gases. The program promotes the use of LED bulbs as a substitute for incandescent bulbs, tube lights, and CFL bulbs. LED bulbs that are distributed under the UJALA program are available at subsidized rates at special counters set up at designated places in different cities across the country. To be eligible to procure LEDs under UJALA, a household must have a metered electricity connection from the respective electricity DISCOM.
The government claims that the sale of LED bulbs in the Indian market has increased from 0.1% in 2014 to 15% within a year, with a projected increase to 60% by 2020. With the average household electricity bills down by 15%, the annual energy savings is equivalent to a week’s average earning, the statement added. The government also noted that the prices of LED bulbs being distributed under UJALA have fallen to one-tenth of their rates between 2015 and 2018.
“As these lights are automated, they switch on and off at sunrise and sunset, thereby reducing wastage. Utilities can also remotely track and rectify any faults. In the last five years, the LED streetlights installed have illuminated 300,000 km of roads in India, enabling public safety and energy-efficient lighting,” the government said in a statement.
The Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a government company under the administrative control of Ministry of Power, has been assigned the responsibility to implement this program. EESL works with electricity distribution companies through a benefit-sharing approach. The government’s statement adds that EESL intends to invest ₹80 billion (~$1.1 billion) for the installation and retrofitting of over 30 million LED streetlights in the next four to five years.
Meanwhile, Street Lighting National Program aims to replace 13.4 million conventional streetlights in India with smart LEDs by March 2020.
With this, the government expects that the “ambitious goal” will enable peak demand reduction of about 1,500 MW, annual energy savings of 9 billion kWh, and reduction of 6.2 million tons of CO2/year.
Recently, the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) issued a Request for Proposal for 3,825 sets of LED-based solar home lighting systems.
Anjana is a news editor at Mercom India. Before joining Mercom, she held roles of senior editor, district correspondent, and sub-editor for The Times of India, Biospectrum and The Sunday Guardian. Before that, she worked at the Deccan Herald and the Asianlite as chief sub-editor and news editor. She has also contributed to The Quint, Hindustan Times, The New Indian Express, Reader’s Digest (UK edition), IndiaSe (Singapore-based magazine) and Asiaville. Anjana holds a Master’s degree in Geography from North Bengal University, and a diploma in mass communication and journalism from Guru Ghasidas University, Bhopal.