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Understanding the impacts of India’s LED bulb programme, “UJALA”

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Author(s): Aditya Chunekar, Sanjana Mulay, Mrudula Kelkar Publication Date: August, 2017

Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All (UJALA) is arguably the world’s largest zero-subsidy LED bulb programme for households. UJALA’s popularity has spurred Energy Efficiency Services Ltd. (EESL), its implementing agency, to use the programme model to sell energy efficient ceiling fans and air-conditioners. We systematically studied the varied impacts and processes of the UJALA programme to draw lessons for increasing its effectiveness and aid the design of similar future programmes in India and abroad.

Our analysis shows that UJALA has succeeded in creating a large and sustainable market for LED bulbs in India. Demand for LED bulbs has increased manifold and the retail market price (for the LED bulbs sold beyond UJALA) has dropped by a third. A number of other indicators point to the sustainability of the LED bulbs market. The demand for LED bulbs has replaced the demand for CFLs rather than incandescent bulbs. Going ahead, EESL should target low income households and small commercial establishments who are still buying incandescent bulbs. The streamlined procurement processes and innovative marketing campaigns from the UJALA model can be used for other appliances as well. Stricter monitoring and evaluation mechanisms should be incorporated in the programme design to ensure the quality of the appliances, compliance of various processes, proper disposal of old appliances, and realistic calculation of achieved savings.

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