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Branson Bets on Green Lamps

Metrolight has been operating in the U.S. lighting business since 2002. It started out working with end users of its electronic ballasts to generate demand for its product. Now it's beginning to see a flood of interest from OEM distributors, as well.

"There is currently very little competition in high wattage," Executive Vice President Randy Reid.Reid says. "That is why this investment by Virgin Fuels is so important. Demand for electronic HID is coming at us like a freight train."

Ballasts are devices that get HID lamps to light up. They traditionally work through a magnetic system that sends a large surge of electricity through the lamp's innards. Metrolight's ballasts use less electricity at a much higher frequency than normal ballasts. This reduces the wear and tear on the devices, making them last considerably longer than other HID lamps.

"Our HID lamps love the way they are treated," Reid says.

Metrolight's ballasts can be controlled by analog devices like motion sensors so that HID lamps turn on and off when needed. They can also be controlled via digital software, giving customers complete interactivity over when and how their lighting systems are used.

Major energy savings can be achieved just by raising and lowering light levels as needed throughout the day. Outdoor light systems on streets and in parking lots are mostly "dumb" with only on and off states. Parking lot lights managed by Metrolight ballasts could keep the lights dim unless cars are entering or exiting, potentially generating significant cost savings for their owners.

While HID lamps fitted with Metrolight's electronic ballasts cost more up front than traditional magnetic ballasts, they usually pay for themselves in about two years with the energy savings that they bring, according to Reid.

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