Light Emitting Diode or LED has come a long way from being mainly used in small Indicators and signs to being used for traffice signals. The most common use in 90s was in power circuits. LED market really picked up in India when banks started using them to display token numbers. In the last few years, they have become so common that we have lost count - traffic signals, remotes, TVs, small devices...so many uses.
LEDs have already become the choice technology for traffic signals in many cities. They have saved substantial energy for many traffic departments. This article assesses that traffic signals saves upto 80% power with LEDs. They can also be used with their own Solar Power source.
LEDs are now being considered a substitute to even CFL bulbs. Yes CFL bulbs. CFL bulbs are replacing the Incandescent bulb as the greener choice with much lesser power consumption and longer life. LEDs are now being considered for domestic lighting. Even I was surprised to stumble upon this report.
Check this calculation from OSRAM where the power consumed by LED lamp is same as CFL but its life is almost 25 times. It also suggests that the cost of manufacture is also small.
Now we have to wait and watch when this technology becomes viable for sale in domestic markets. The demand will have to be generated using the green merits of this technology. But the idea sure seems great at the moment.
The Indian market (and other emerging markets) will pick up only when the prices fall enough to allow the LED lamps to compete with CFLs. Higher prices will only generate lukewarm interest from a limited segment.
Here is a detailed article on NYTimes on this one.