Dutch electronics giant Philips has signed a contract with the Mexican government to replace and destroy 22.9 million incandescent lightbulbs this year as part of a project to assist more than 5 million families and save 1,632 MW of electricity, the Energy Secretariat said.

Mexico's Trust for Electric Energy Savings, or Fide, and Philips Iluminacion Mexico signed the agreement for the Sustainable Lighting Program on Tuesday, the secretariat said.

Replacing incandescent lightbulbs with energy-saving bulbs will be "voluntary and free," the secretariat said, adding that bids would be taken to replace a similar quantity of bulbs in 2012.

"Lighting is the main expense associated with energy consumption" by households, Energy Secretary Jose Antonio Meade said.

Replacing a 100-Watt incandescent lightbulb with a 23-Watt bulb will produce energy savings of 77 percent, Meade said.

The 1,632 MW that the program will save annually are the equivalent of the energy produced by two dams and will keep nearly 2.8 million tons of CO2 from being emitted, the energy secretary said.

This is equivalent to 36 percent of the amount of CO2 produced by the automobiles in Mexico City in a year, Meade said.

The Mexican government and Philips carried out a pilot project that replaced 1.2 million incandescent lightbulbs prior to the launch of the program.

The cost of the project was not revealed by the secretariat.