By Loralee Stevens, Special to the Business Journal
SANTA ROSA — Green Ray LED, the aggressive, locally headquartered lighting manufacturer, has produced what is being hailed as the world’s most efficient LED lamp.
The U.S. Department of Energy has pronounced Green Ray’s new tube lamp the brightest of all, at a record-breaking 173 lumens per watt. LED lights sold in most big-box stores are 48-60 lm/W, with specialty products running as high as 130 lm/W.
“Our bulb blows the doors off,” said Peter Richard, corporate manager of Green Ray USA (707-544-2662, www.greenrayled.com). “This is a real technological breakthrough that’ll enhance Green Ray’s reputation as an LED leader.”
The 4-foot-long lamp costs about $80 to $90 for a single bulb, significantly less when purchased in volume. Depending on what sort of lighting it replaces, it can cut energy use by 70 percent to 80 percent.
Most of Green Ray’s customers are large commercial enterprises, and in the eight years since the company was founded it has racked up an impressive list. Nestle, 7-Eleven, Burger King, Radisson Hotels, Mattel and Reebok are among the corporate giants who use Green Ray’s LED lights.
Although relatively small — the company employs only 12 in its Santa Rosa headquarters and 270 worldwide — Green Ray has made its name in the industry by designing solutions for its customers, something major manufacturers like Philips, GE and Sylvania would be hard-pressed to do.
“If you have a chain of supermarkets and want to save money we can retrofit LED into your current fixtures. But if you have an architectural firm or a high-end boutique and want the lighting to pop, we can design fixtures,” said Mr. Richard.
Either way, LED lighting earns government rebates, and the more efficient the lighting the higher the rebate, he said. “The lower your wattage, the better you look.”
Green Ray controls the entire process from concept to completion, including research and development, production — in a plant in Shenzhen, China — certification and warranty.
“Our greatest asset is our ability to link our field personnel with the production tram in a way that lets us produce a product specific to the needs of our customers,” said Marty Fielding, director of product development.
Green Ray has a large footprint in South America, where it dominates the LED market. Its founder and CEO Fernando Cancela, now a resident of Santa Rosa, is Uruguayan by birth.
He had hoped to manufacture the lights in Sonoma County.
“From personal experience, I know people and businesses around the world are willing to pay more to have a product that is made in the USA,” he said.
“Unfortunately, based on the actual cost of running the factory from Santa Rosa, and the fact that we are without any incentives to manufacture locally, we were forced to move our factory abroad. However, we keep the creation, innovation and the design of the products here.”
Green Ray is in the process of opening a sales office in San Francisco. R&D will continue in the 4,500 square foot facility on Corporate Center Parkway.
“From the North Bay we can reach the world in a split second because this area has the latest technology available,” said Mr. Cancela. “Just as easily we can feel very peaceful and somewhat isolated, allowing us the time and space to innovate, create and develop.”
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