Bridgelux scores $21 million for LEDs
A Bay Area startup working to bring the typically high costs of LED lighting within reach has scored $21 million in venture funding, according to papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.
Bridgelux makes LEDs to replace incandescent, halogen and fluorescent lights (think street lights and traffic lights). Last year, the startup rolled out a lighting system designed to be easily interchangeable with conventional lighting – it describes its system is similar to changing a light bulb – that it says lasts 10 years and could cost less than half as much as most other LEDs.
Creating a smarter, more agile electrical grid isn’t just about managing big electrical loads and power-hungry items like electric vehicles. It’s also means cutting power consumption in the host of small devices at the grid’s edge, like lighting. Solid state lighting, like LEDs, could offer big energy savings – in the U.S., it could cut lighting-related energy use by a third, according to Department of Energy – but it doesn’t come cheap.
For investors, lighting and other edge-of-the-grid technologies offer an alternative to capital-intensive clean tech investments, like large-scale renewable energy projects.
“I think that it’s really getting down to a performance and cost point where over the next two years you’ll really see lighting really take off,” Victor Westerlind, a general partner at venture capital firm RockPort Capital Partners, told Sustainable Industries earlier this year. “From an investment perspective, those could be much more capital-efficient deals, whether it’s focused on the lights themselves or on the controls, sensors and automation around those lights.”
In the next decade, LEDs could account for almost half of the $4.4 billion commercial and industrial lighting market, according to a 2010 report by Pike Research.