I've been on solar power for a whole 10 days now and it is amazing how it makes you think about energy use. The inverters I have are from Enphase and they come with a website that allows you track how much power you are producing at any given time. It produces a bar chart with production ever 15 minutes.
In the last 15 minutes (8:30AM local time) as I write this, the panels produced 497 watt-hours, enough power for 166 AA batteries.
In doing my regular reading of news stories and deals, I came across by far the cheapest LED light bulbs I've ever seen. Before I get to the deal, I feel like it's worth taking a stroll down Light Bulb Memory lane...
I feel like I've been writing about light bulbs forever now. Back in 2007, I wrote about how CFLs save the environment by using less power. This was back before the concerns about mercury in them was widespread. No one even called me out in the comments... and quite a few people said that they switched their whole house to them.
In any case, they saved people a lot of money. As long as they disposed of them properly, they were good.
A little more than 3 years ago, the idea of a $50 affordable LED light bulb was bandied about on The Soap Boxers (the author, Kosmo, contributes here from time to time). He made a great case that the total cost of ownership of the light bulb, when accounting for electricity favors LEDs over incandescent light bulbs. And while those compact fluorescent light bulbs still had low cost and high efficiency some people don't like how they require "warming-up" and the mercury issue with them.
It's interesting to note that a good case was made for a $50 light bulb three years ago, because you can buy two of them for $5 at Home Depot. At $2.50 a bulb that's 1/20th the cost back then. Instead of blowing $600 on a dozen to put throughout the house, you can spend $30.
There are a few minor catches, but I don't think they should be too concerning:
- They are back-ordered until June. This tells me that people are snapping up this deal.
- They are rated to last "only" 10 years while other LEDs are rated to last 20+ years.
- They aren't rated as dimmable, so you'll have to get a slightly more expensive LED for those fixtures.
There's a longer review of these at CNET's website, but they stack up well to competitors in performance.
Now some people may balk at the shorter lifespan of these light bulbs. I actually think it is an advantage. The shorter lifespan is the result of the cheaper materials and cheaper cost to you. We get LED technology at a price that's much closer to CFLs than they have ever been.
If they only last for 10 years, I won't feel bad about throwing them away for the next technology. When I think about how far we've come from 2007, it's fascinating to think about 2025. Maybe we will have OLED lighting then.
Am I really going to want to hang onto LEDs from 2015 in 2035? Light is light, so I probably won't mind too much, but my guess is technology is going to do what it always done... march forward.
Personally, I've transitioned almost entirely to LEDs and I still have some CFLs that I'd like to use up (not sure how), so I'm probably not going to jump on this deal. However, if you haven't jumped on LEDs, this is probably the best time to do it.
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