Solid State Lighting (SSL) is the most innovative lighting technology emerging in the market. It works on the basis of light-emitting semi-conducting materials that convert electricity into light and comprises light-emitting diode (LED) and organic LED (OLED) lighting.
LED lamps and luminaires are now gradually being introduced in the market. Widescale LED usage will help to significantly reduce energy consumption, in accordance with the goals of the European Commission's Digital Agenda for Europe flagship initiative.
The activities in the area of Solid State Lighting are based on a European SSL support strategy laid down in the 2011 Green Paper "Lighting the Future" (COM(2011)889). They range from EU funding of LED and OLED research and innovation actions, including demonstration projects in real-life settings, to initiatives for European LED standardisation and for accelerating large-scale SSL deployment in European cities and buildings. The lighting strategy is also geared towards strengthening the competitiveness of the European lighting sector along the value chain.
One of the major actions identified in the Green Paper was the need for further standardisation in SSL. A standardisation mandate (M/519) was issued in February 2012 to the European Standards Organisations (ESOs) CEN, CENELEC and ETSI to address gaps and open areas to be covered, enhanced, or transposed from the international to the European level. The mandate also addresses the need to define adequate measurement and testing methodologies.
A broad range of EU instruments of relevance to SSL, both voluntary and mandatory, already exist or are under preparation. They will allow an easier through minimum performance and safety requirements for SSL products. Main instruments include: Ecodesign, Energy labelling, Ecolabel, the Low-Voltage Directive or the General Product Safety Directive, the Directives on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), and Green Public Procurement (GPP).
The SSL pilot actions ILLUMINATE and LED4ART aim at demonstrating the benefits of innovative LED lighting installations. The pilot sites illustrate the versatility and lighting quality improvements of the new SSL installations, and provided up to 80% energy savings. The SSL pilot sites include: the Belfast City Hall, the Genoa port area, the Rotterdam zoo, Copenhagen's experimentarium and the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.
A wide spectrum of projects have so far received more than €135 million of EU funding. They mainly address research on new advanced materials and advanced components. Two flagship actions were selected and launched, which are of direct relevance to the cities and the SSL stakeholders: ENIGMA, a pre-commercial procurement action, is about supporting 5 European pilot cities for procuring innovative public LED lighting; SSL-ERATE, brings together many key European stakeholders to explore new challenges along the extended lighting value chain.
Further research and innovation actions will be supported under the new EU framework programme Horizon 2020.