By Dan Radomski, VP, New Market Services
Forget blue and red; let’s make Michigan a white “solid” state.
Over the last few years, there has been quite a buzz about LED lighting and its promise of higher energy efficiency and longer life than traditional lighting technologies.. LED’s (or light emitting diodes) are a solid state lighting (SSL) technology that use semiconductor, organic or polymer light-emitting diodes as sources of illumination rather than electrical filaments, plasma , or gas. SSL technologies are about 10 times more energy efficient and can last up to 25 times longer than traditional lighting technologies, such as incandescent, compact florescent (CFL) products.
Many people are surprised to hear that Michigan is a hub for innovation in advanced lighting technologies. Understanding the need to raise awareness, advanced- lighting industry players rallied together in 2009 to form the Michigan Solid State Lighting Association (MSSLA). The organization set out to bring attention to the state’s vibrant cluster of companies involved in the design, development, and manufacture of LED products, components and ancillary services. MSSLA has grown to approximately 30 corporate members, most of which are small Michigan businesses that employ hundreds of high-tech employees.
We hope to shine a light on Michigan’s vibrant LED innovation cluster by hosting the MSSLA Annual Symposium on December 7 at the NextEnergy Center. We are inviting energy management professionals, building facility managers, architectural groups, municipal operations staff and others to learn about the benefits of SSL technology. The event includes an opportunity to hear case studies from LED product manufacturers and end-users who will share the cost/benefit analysis the experienced after installing LED products in a number of different applications (indoor vs. outdoor environments) .
While at the event, attendees will tour NextEnergy’s LED product demonstrations installed throughout our campus that feature Michigan-made products from companies like Electro-Matic, Estrakon, LED Optical Solutions, Lumerica, and Midwest Circuits.
NextEnergy’s support for the advanced lighting industry in Michigan also includes working closely with the City of Detroit to support LED retrofits in select areas. To date, an investment of $500,000 has gone into installing a multitude of LED lights throughout the city, thanks to grants secured through the Michigan State Energy Office.
NextEnergy plans to continue demonstrations of advanced lighting technologies including future product development competitions, and the launch of a “living laboratory” at the NextEnergy Center where advanced lighting products can be tested and benchmarked against competitive products.
The goal is to help Michigan evolve into a hub for advanced lighting innovation and manufacturing, attracting more global innovators to the state, and at the same time, nurturing the cluster of companies we already have by adding assets and resources that will make locating here a competitive advantage. Regardless of which side of the political fence you are on, I think we can all agree that efforts like this help attract new and grow existing business, foster intellectual property, create high paying jobs and make Michigan a more “solid” state.