LEDs are a Lighting Revolution in the Developing World

It seems to me that right now is the most exciting time in the lighting trade since Thomas Alva Edison first came up with a practical and long-lasting electrical globe. The recent advances in LED lighting are so amazing that the three scientists who were responsible were awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics. Their masterstroke was the invention of blue LEDs, which are what made LEDs useful as primary sources of interior lighting.

Lighting Up The World

I am always recommending LED lights for Australian householders due to their energy efficiency and the fact that they’re so long lasting. However, it’s actually because of what LED lighting has done for the developing world that the Nobel Committee awarded the prize this year. Did you know that more than a billion people in our world live without proper access to electricity? When you can’t plug into the electrical grid, solar power is one of the solutions, but until energy-efficient LED lights came onto the market, the smaller solar panels most people could afford were just not enough to power electric lights.


Ten years ago, LEDs themselves were too costly for poorer families, but as time went on, their efficiency grew by 100% every year just as their price was halving. Now, people can get a helpful amount of light for less than a watt of energy. Even 0.1 watts will give you enough light to check on your baby in the middle of the night.

What is absolutely crucial in developing countries right now is that the combination of LED lights and solar panels is so affordable that it has become a worthwhile commercial proposition for many companies, which means that access to lighting is spreading fast around the world. With starter lights at only a few dollars, it’s no surprise that over 28 million people in Africa—people who aren’t on an electrical grid—are now using LED lighting in their homes.

A Breath Of Fresh Air

It’s not until you realise what most people in the developing world were using before that you discover just how much LED lights have transformed their lives.

When you use wood fires and expensive kerosene lamps in small houses to provide light, indoor air pollution and fire risk are both huge problems. When you’re a child growing up in a smoky, dimly lit home, it’s incredibly hard to study in the evenings. But, it’s vital for both children and adults in underprivileged communities to be able to educate themselves and stay informed so that they can help improve life for their families and others in their communities.

With LED lights providing hour after hour of reading light for a fraction of the cost of kerosene, the future is looking quite literally brighter every day for people in the developing world. And, in case you ever wondered, that’s the kind of revolution that gets you a Nobel Prize.