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Authors

Dikshu C. Kukreja
Dikshu C. Kukreja
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Mr. V. Raman Kumar
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Ms. Chandra Ganjoo
Sanjay Bhatia
Sanjay Bhatia
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Aprameya Radhakrishna
Colin Shah
Colin Shah
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Shri P.R. Aqeel Ahmed
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar
Alok Kirloskar
Alok Kirloskar
Pragati Khare
Pragati Khare
Devang Mody
Devang Mody
Vinay Kalantri
Vinay Kalantri

LED UJALA Programme and Road Ahead

LED UJALA Programme and Road Ahead

Overview of LED UJALA Programme
Energy efficiency has become important amid scarcities and concerns over climate change globally. In view of this, Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi launched the LED UJALA Programme on 5 January 2015. The scheme is executed by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a Super Energy Service Company (ESCO), under the Ministry of Power, Government of India. The main aim of the scheme is to replace 770 million incandescent bulbs and provide affordable LED bulbs to domestic consumers. This scheme also aims to achieve 100 billion kWh of annual energy savings and 79 million tonnes of annual CO2 reductions.

The UJALA Programme has also gained international recognition for its concerted efforts to build a strong ecosystem for LED lighting in India. It won the prestigious South Asia Procurement Innovation Award (SAPIA) in 2017 and the CIO 100 award in 2019 for the innovative use of IT and business outcomes realised in the Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP). UJALA has been successful in bringing about a transformation in the energy efficiency sector. UJALA has enabled families to reduce their electricity bills and gain access to better lighting in their homes by replacing inefficient incandescent bulbs with LEDs. Thus, the money saved by households adds to their disposable income, which helps them live a quality life, fostering prosperity in the community

Need for LED UJALA Programme
EESL and UJALA have helped in large-scale energy efficiency implementation across India. It has demonstrated to government stakeholders that energy efficiency can provide several benefits in a short period to all sectors and, crucially, at a little or no cost to the government. UJALA, under the “Make in India” initiative, led by Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, focuses on investment, innovation, and best-in-class production, all of which have a high likelihood of being replicated by other sectors. The UJALA Programme has also helped India achieve its climate targets by saving scarce energy resources and reducing carbon emissions by almost three million tonnes annually. Replacing inefficient incandescent bulbs with LEDs enables families to reduce expenses related to power and spend more time learning, reading, and even working at night, which boosts productivity in family businesses.

Some of the major reasons that gave birth to the LED UJALA Programme are mentioned below:

  • Energy efficiency: Compared to incandescent bulbs, LED uses 88% less energy and produces more energy than conventional light. Furthermore, LEDs are 50% more energy-efficient than CFLs.
  • Affordability: Families can pay for UJALA LED bulbs through their utility bills at a cost of Rs.10 (US$ 0.13) per month, making energy efficiency affordable for all.
  • Employment generation: UJALA provides temporary employment to over 35,000 people, through country-wide distribution of LED bulbs; Rs. 700 million (US$ 8.91 million) are paid monthly in wages.
  • Manage rising energy demand: The electricity savings achieved through UJALA are equivalent to the output of a 500 MW coal-fired power station, whose construction would cost Rs. 40 billion (US$ 505 million) now. These savings provide an opportunity to power additional one million households.

Progress So Far
The scheme has rapidly grown into the world's largest zero-subsidy domestic lighting scheme, addressing issues such as high electrification costs and excessive emissions from inefficient lighting. More than 36.86 crore LEDs were delivered nationwide as of 12 August 2022. The programme's unique strategic approach to energy efficiency is the key to its success, which has transformed the lives of thousands of people. UJALA lowered the retail cost of LED bulbs from Rs. 300–350 (US$ 3.82–4.45) per bulb to Rs. 70–80 (US$ 0.89–1.02) per bulb. The scheme has provided everyone with not only affordable energy but also significant energy savings. As of 12 August 2022, 47,877 million kWh per annum of energy had been saved; also, 9,585 MW of peak demand had been avoided and 3.87 crore tonnes of CO2 emissions had been reduced.

By using electronic procurement for products and services, the government has upheld transparency and promoted competition under the programme. As a result, transaction costs and order processing times have been significantly reduced, improving process efficiency. In addition, UJALA has led to an increase in the number of bidders, improving product quality and making better specs available to buyers. The scheme’s USP is its creative procurement approach, which was implemented in response to rising industry competitiveness and widespread procurement. UJALA has been adopted by all states in India and has significantly reduced annual household electricity bills. Furthermore, UJALA has lowered the average household electricity bills by 15%, which is equivalent to a week's worth of average earnings. The UJALA Programme's aim of selling 700 million LED bulbs was significantly exceeded by the domestic LED market, which recorded sales of over 1.15 billion.

Stats at a Glance (as of 12 August 2022)

Parameters

Achievements

No. of towns enrolled

Pan India

No. of LED bulbs distributed

36.86 crore

Capacity generation avoided

9,585 MW

Energy saved per year

47.87 kWh

Carbon footprint reduced per year

3.87 crore (CO2)

Source: National Ujala Dashboard

Road Ahead
UJALA is a remarkable story of the Make in India initiative coming to fruition. It has led to rapid technological transition from incandescent to LED bulbs, driving a complete supply–demand chain reaction; this, in turn, has delivered favourable economies of scale to various firms, supporting expansion and strengthening of the domestic manufacturing sector.

Going forward, UJALA aims to collaborate with the state governments to deliver multiple benefits by introducing new energy efficiency norms that will revolutionise the markets for household fans, street lighting, air conditioning, and agricultural pumps. Furthermore, EESL has an ambitious strategy in the pipeline under the Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP) portfolio for the next 4–5 years where it plans to raise Rs. 8,000 crore (US$ 1.01 billion) in investments by 2024 covering the entire rural India. Over 30 million LED streetlights are expected to be installed by EESL under the programme. Thus, UJALA has driven a revolution in energy efficiency in India through the introduction of scalable demand-side management efforts. With strong policy support from the government, it has given a boost to the domestic lighting industry by encouraging Make in India manufacturing of LED bulbs whose production has increased from 1 lakh per month to 40 million per month since the launch of the scheme. All of these accomplishments suggest that the UJALA programme will continue to grow rapidly in the future.

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