Why is LED lighting so expensive?

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There's quite a lot of LED lighting coming onto the market, but it's not cheap. Jason Scott explains why this is, and looks at some of the advantages of switching to LEDS.

This is a relatively new technology and, like all new products, is expensive when first launched. In addition, the LEDs used are not only very bright but have to be a precise spectrum to become suitable for aquarium use. In time, as LED lighting becomes more commonplace, costs are likely to fall.

Don’t be put off by the high initial cost. Over the course of their life, which is approximately 50,000 hours, LEDs will cost you far less than any other type of lighting.

There is a huge reduction in energy cost as they convert power into light far more efficiently, most using around half the electricity of a fluorescent.

Making quick calculations, it is easy to see that LEDs could slash lighting costs. Based on a unit of electricity at 15p each, a 54w T5 will use more than £400 of energy over 50,000 hours. This compares to just £180 for two 12w LED arrays from a well-known manufacturer.

In addition, unlike other types of lighting, the lamps don’t need replacing annually — saving hundreds more over the unit’s lifetime.

This item was first published in the December 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping. It may not be reproduced without written permission.