Launched by Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 5th, 2015, the Government of India’s zero-subsidy Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) and LED Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP), marks its fifth anniversary today.
SLNP is the world’s largest streetlight replacement program and UJALA is the world’s largest domestic lighting project. Both have been spearheaded and implemented by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
Under the SLNP program, over 1.03 crore smart LED streetlights have been installed till date, enabling an estimated energy savings of 6.97 billion kWh per year with an avoided peak demand of 1,161 MW and an estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction of 4.80 million tCO2 annually. LED streetlights have been installed in various states across the country, helping generate approximately 13,000 jobs to support GoI's Make in India initiative.
Through the UJALA initiative, over 36.13 crores of LED bulbs have been distributed across India. This has resulted in estimated energy savings of 46.92 billion kWh per year, avoided peak demand of 9,394 MW, and an estimated GHG emission reduction of 38 million t CO2 annually.
On achieving the milestone, Managing Director, EESL Saurabh Kumar said, “Five years ago, Hon'ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi started the energy efficiency revolution in India by launching UJALA & Street Lighting National Programme. Energy efficiency is vital for India’s efforts in mitigating climate change and achieving a sustainable future. These programs exemplify the Government of India’s vision for a New India, and the empowerment of every citizen. I congratulate all the State Governments, Urban Local Bodies, stakeholders and EESL’s young team for their continued efforts towards achieving the country’s energy efficiency goals.”
With the concerted efforts towards building a robust ecosystem for LED in India, these programs have bagged global awards like the prestigious South Asia Procurement Innovation Award (SAPIA) 2017 and for the innovative use of IT and the business results achieved in Street Lighting National Programme (SLNP), it won 2019 CIO 100 award. The highly successful UJALA and SLNP have also bagged the Global Solid State Lighting (SSL) award of excellence for the transformational contribution to the LED sector.
UJALA project brought the market transformation in the energy efficiency sector. Prices of LED bulbs being distributed under the UJALA program have fallen to one-tenth of their rates in 2015 from INR. 310 to INR 38 in 2018. The switch from inefficient incandescent bulbs to LEDs is helping families reduce their electricity bills while also enabling them to access better brightness in homes. The money saved adds to a household’s disposable income and lifetime savings, thus improving their quality of life, generating prosperity in local communities, and in expanding energy access to all. With the average household electricity bills down by 15 percent, the annual energy saving is equivalent to a week’s average earning. The sale of LED bulbs in the Indian market increased from 0.1 percent of the lighting market in 2014 to 15 percent within a year, with a projected increase to 60 percent by 2020. The domestic LED market has also grown significantly beyond the UJALA program, with the industry selling over 1.15 billion LEDs, far exceeding the UJALA program’s target of 700 million LED unit sales.
Apart from this, the Government of India initiated the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (GSA) in 2018, which was aimed at the promotion of social harmony by apprising rural communities of various government welfare schemes and initiatives. As a part of GSA, 21,058 Indian villages with a significantly large number of poor households were able to buy LED bulbs for a special price under the UJALA program. The LED bulbs equipped homes with energy-efficient, cost-effective lighting, and higher lumen output than conventional incandescent bulbs.
Simultaneously, the LED Street Lighting National Programme has enabled citizens to increase productivity at night and made roads safer for pedestrians and motorists due to enhanced brightness and reduced dark spots. The power utilities of states where the installation of LEDs has been implemented save up to 50 percent in electricity bills while ensuring 95 percent of streetlight uptime. As these lights are automated, they switch on and off at sunrise and sunset thereby reducing wastage. Utilities can also remotely track and rectify any faults with support of CCMS. In the last five years, the LED streetlights installed have illuminated 3,00,000 km of roads in India, enabling public safety and energy-efficient lighting.
The functioning of Gram Panchayats (GP) has a direct impact on the everyday life of millions of rural people. Hence, the role of GP is critical for overall inclusive development and for deepening democracy through participatory governance. The estimated number of streetlights in GPs of India is 3.08 crores, by retrofitting these 3.08 crores conventional streetlights to LED streetlights can enable energy savings of approx. 3420 Million kWh & CO2 emission reduction of approx. 29 lakh tons. Till date, under Street Lighting National Programme, approx. 23 lakhs LED streetlights have already been retrofitted in the Gram Panchayats in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Goa, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
By March 2020, SLNP aims to replace 1.34 crore conventional streetlights in India with smart LEDs. This ambitious goal will make a tremendous difference, enabling peak demand reduction of about 1500 MW, annual energy savings of 9 billion kWh, and reduction in 6.2 Million tons of CO2 per year. EESL has an ambitious plan in this portfolio for the next 4-5 years where it intends to bring investment to the tune of INR 8,000 crores by 2024 by covering entire rural India. It is expected that more than 30 million LED streetlights would be retrofitted/installed by EESL.