The cost-reduced design utilizes fewer LEDs than its predecessor while delivering slightly higher total flux and consuming slightly lower energy.
Cree has announced a second-generation BR30 LED lamp family with 2700K- and 5000K-CCT options and a list price just under $10. The product is generally similar to the company's original BR30 LED lamp, although the heat sink looks slightly smaller with less pronounced cooling channels/fins. Home Depot will be the sole source of the new solid-state lighting (SSL) product at launch.
Cree announced its first BR30 LED lamp back in mid-2013, priced in the $20 range. Subsequently, Cree had reduced the price to the $15 range. What little inventory is left on Home Depot shelves of the original design is selling for the new $9.97 price in advance of the new design hitting shelves in the coming days. Cree said the lamps would be available online immediately and in stores in June.
The new BR30 lamp is a perfect example of the advancements coming in the packaged LED space. "Cree's recent advancements in LED technology allowed us to cut the price by going from eight LEDs to two, all in a package that offers a better lighting experience," said Betty Noonan, Cree chief marketing officer. Certainly, the reduced number of packaged LEDs is in part how Cree has reduced the cost of the BR30, although the aforementioned heat sink would indicate other changes as well. "Cree lowers prices by innovating at all levels of the system," added Noonan.
In fairness, the drop from eight to two packaged LEDs may not be an apples-to-apples comparison. Cree offers a number of LED models in discrete packages with multiple emitters in one package. We will have to see exactly which LEDs are used in the lamp to make a more fair comparison on the older and newer designs. But Cree said the lamp uses LED technology based on the SC5 (Silicon Carbide 5) manufacturing platform — or in other words the company's top-performing packaged LEDs.
Cree did not radically change the BR30 architecture in the same manner that the company has upgraded its A-lamp family. The new A-lamps use what Cree calls the 4Flow architecture in place of the Filament Tower that was the basis for the company's first A-lamps. And the original BR30 shared some of the original A-lamp design elements. With only two packaged LEDs in the new BR30 design, the internals will likely differ significantly from the older BR30.
Cree rates the new BR30 lamps for 25,000 hours of life and covers the products with a five-year warranty. The new design outputs 655 lm from 9W, whereas the originals output 650 lm at 9.5W. Cree said the new design is Energy Star compliant.
The company also sought to emphasize that the cost-reduced lamps come with no compromise in performance. "Cree is committed to delivering the lighting experiences consumers deserve and expect," said Noonan. "With the Cree BR30 LED floodlight consumers don’t need to sacrifice performance for affordability. Unlike the cheap, compromised LED bulbs other lighting manufacturers have recently introduced, Cree LED bulbs deliver the industry’s highest performance at an affordable price."