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Tech Expert: LED Makers to Light Up Market

The universal use of LED lighting may sound like something far down the road, but Richard Prati tells investors it's closer than they may believe.

The CEO of American Technology Research thinks it's time for investors to see the light about North Carolina-based Cree. It makes the computer chips that go into an LED lighting system.

"This is a company that we think is really misunderstood," he told CNBC. "This is one of the few companies that we can find that can save people 90 percent on their energy consumption, will last for about 20 years, as far as the LEDs that they install, and it's environmentally safe."

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But isn't the consumer application of the technology still years away?

"We believe that's a misperception, plus misinformation, being put out by some of the bigger guys, said Prati. "The LED technology, which is ready today, is going to really proliferate, much as we saw the Internet companies, say, in the late 90's."

Prati also likes SunPower, although its solar-energy applications are somewhat more distant.

"Companies other than Germany and Japan haven't done that much," he said. "It's really just a matter of, when will we get to parity, and when will subsidies no longer be necessary? With all the concerns over global warming, alternative energy is going to be a hot topic for years to come."

Among established tech companies, he finds that Research in Motion "still has a long way to go."

"We think over the next couple of years you're going to see these guys penetrate many, many new subscribers," he said. "There are 12 million right now; we think you're going to see them get to 100 million over the next three to four years."

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