6

Million Tons of CO2

have been avoided by Power Integrations EcoSmart chips since 1998

9%

CAGR

in net revenue, 2001 - 2020

1

Billion Dollars

Recipient of the 2020 Best Financially Managed Semiconductor Company up to $1 Billion in Annual Sales Award by the Global Semiconductor Alliance


The Path to Drawdown: LEDs

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) were invented in 1994, designed as high-brightness, high-efficiency light bulbs. LED lighting works like solar panels but in reverse, converting electrons to photons instead of the other way around. For the same amount of light, LEDs use 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and half as much as compact fluorescents. LEDs turn 80% of their energy use into light while other lighting technologies convert energy into heat (and most of it wasted).

There are many environmental upsides to LED lighting. Its efficiency in converting energy into light, rather than heat, helps reduce electricity consumption and air-conditioning usage. In regions where people don’t have access to ample energy, LEDs can be powered with small solar cells and can replace expensive kerosene lamps and their noxious fumes and emissions. Where LEDs are used in streetlights, they can save up to 70% of energy and significantly reduce maintenance costs.

Project Drawdown projects that if LED lighting becomes widely adopted in the residential and commercial lighting market, it can help avoid between 10.2-10.8 gigatons of CO2 emissions in residences, and between 5.9-6.7 gigatons in commercial buildings. To achieve this, the global market share of LEDs needs to grow fast:

  • In 2018, LEDs comprised 3% of the total commercial lighting market and 2% of the residential lighting market
  • By 2050, LEDs should account for 95% and 90% of the residential and commercial markets, respectively
  • That’s 12.82% CAGR for residential LED, and 11.21% CAGR for commercial LED lighting between 2018 - 2050.

About

Power Integrations, Inc. (stock ticker: POWI) is a supplier of high-performance electronic components used in high-voltage power-conversion systems. Their integrated circuits and diodes enable compact, energy-efficient AC-DC power supplies for a vast range of electronic products including mobile devices, TVs, PCs, appliances, smart utility meters and LED lights. Headquartered in San Jose, California, they have 19 field labs worldwide.

POWI's Role in Drawdown

Power Integration offers several energy-efficiency products. Their AC-DC power conversion products addresses power supplies ranging from 1 watt to 500 watts of output, like mobile-device chargers, consumer appliances, utility meters, LCD monitors, main and standby power supplies for desktop computers and TVs, and many other consumer and industrial applications, as well as LED lighting.

A feature AC-DC conversion product is Power Integrations’ EcoSmart chips, which intelligently manages the flow of electricity from the power grid to home appliances and devices in a way that maintains high efficiency even at light loads. When there is no electricity load -- in other words, when devices and appliances are plugged in but not used -- their EcoSmart technology effectively shuts down the power supply, leading to near-zero electricity consumption.

Since 1998, Power Integrations has sold over 16 billion EcoSmart chips (p. 33), saving more than 140 billion KWh of energy and over 6 million tons of CO2 annually. That’s the same amount of emissions from 655,476 homes’ energy use for one year.

For the higher-voltage market, Power Integrations offers high-voltage gate drivers, which are fully assembled circuit boards incorporating multiple integrated circuits, electrical isolation components and other circuitry. Their high-voltage LED drivers are part of this product line, which are AC-DC integrated circuits specifically designed for lighting applications that utilize LEDs.

Overall, Power Integrations’ net revenues have grown by 4.6% annually over the last five years, and 9% annually (p. 26) between 2001 and 2020

POWI: What We Like

Power Integrations is making efforts to make their operations more sustainable by installing zero-emission technology at their headquarters:

  • In 2010 they installed a 600KW solar array at their Silicon Valley headquarters, which is expected to prevent 10,000+ tons of CO2 emissions over 25 years, or equivalent to taking over 1,900 passenger cars off the road for one year
  • They’re expanding their solar capacity in 2021, with plans to add more than 1 MW of incremental capacity in San Jose, and installing solar power at newly constructed facilities in Switzerland and Germany
  • As of 2020, Power Integration had 18 electric vehicle charging stations at their headquarters

POWI: What We Want to See Improve

Track GHG Emissions


We appreciate Power Integration estimating the amount of CO2 emissions specific products help customers save - this is exactly what we look for in energy efficiency technologies. But we would also like to know Power Integrations’ direct and indirect GHG emissions from their manufacturing and distribution operations. To that end, they should track their scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and publicize them in an annual sustainability report.

Completely Switch to Renewables


Power Integrations still relies overwhelmingly on natural gas and natural gas-powered grid energy for their operations. We applaud them for making efforts to install solar panels at some of their locations, but these are still isolated changes. We want to see Power Integrations switch completely to renewable energy and become zero emissions in the near future.

Clean Up Supply Chain


We like that Power Integrations’ supplier code of conduct includes many expectations for their suppliers, ranging from labor, health and safety, environmental and ethical standards. But their environmental standards expectations are focused on pollution prevention, cutting waste, and stop short of mentioning climate change or GHG emissions specifically. We want this to change. Power Integrations should hold their suppliers to stringent low-emissions standards.

Other LEDs Stocks in the Climate Index

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