According to the Raleigh News & Observer, Wal-Mart, after 16 months of trials at two experimental stores, is ready to make the leap to LED to reduce energy bills; beginning in January, the retailing giant will install freezers equipped with LED lights at all of its new Sam's Club and Wal-Mart locations. Analysts say that this could herald in wider consumer use of the technology, as Wal-Mart has in the past been a pioneer of new technology use. Lower LED prices could also fuel a boom.

"This will bring much-needed attention to a technology that's been available but hasn't necessarily caught on the way it should," said Joel Makower, founder and executive editor of GreenBiz.com, a group that provides resources for businesses on environmental responsibility. Meanwhile, GE unit Gelcore, a supplier of LED lighting for refrigerated display cases to Wal-Mart, has inked a deal with LED manufacturers Nichia.       EC