manufacturers are now developing OLEDs for general lighting applications because of their potential for high efficacy, large area coverage, and conformable configurations. At present, however, OLEDs have some shortcomings for general lighting applications, as discussed in Chapter 3, such as very high cost compared to LEDs and to other lighting technologies.
Despite the rapid increase in manufacturing and sales of SSL products based on LEDs, barriers remain to be overcome for them to dominate the lighting market. Efforts focused on materials research and overcoming manufacturing challenges to improve SSL products and reduce costs are essential. Barriers exist all along the SSL value chain, depicted graphically in Figure 6.1. The value chain identifies at a high level the market activities and participants comprising the lighting industry. Activities include, but are not limited to: R&D; patenting and licensing intellectual property; the making of specialty manufacturing tools required in commercial-scale SSL component and product manufacturing; manufacturing itself; product assembly; component and product distribution, wholesaling, and retailing; and various light form applications in the consumer market. Market participants include all those individuals, businesses, and organizations participating in some aspect of the lighting market just described, including the lighting design community and consumers.
The industry value chain shown in Figure 6.1 is depicted as consisting of three major categories of activities (upstream, midstream, and downstream) and is used to organize the discussion in this chapter around the barriers that need to be overcome for widespread SSL adoption. First are upstream market activities, including basic and applied R&D, performance standards setting, and determining the best ways to test products. Second are the midstream activities that focus on manufacturing and the movement of product to major wholesalers and retailers, also including associated sales force education and training on the benefits of SSL. Third are downstream activities that include decision-making on particular lighting applications and end-user purchases and the offering of any purchase support programs offered by utilities or other entities to support widespread adoption of SSL. There are barriers to full-scale deployment at each point along the value chain that will be discussed below.
R&D challenges to improving the efficacy, reliability, and color quality of SSL products while reducing the cost are many, as noted in preceding chapters of this report. While challenges for improving SSL products to support widespread adoption can be generalized, some challenges are unique to specific end-use sectors and applications, including residential, commercial, industrial, and general illumination and niche applications. Upstream barriers include but are not limited to the following:
FIGURE 6.1 Solid-state lighting industry value chain.