L-Prize; Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prizes

L Prize Competition Overview

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 directed the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to establish the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition. The L Prize competition is the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to spur development of ultra-efficient solid-state lighting products to replace common lighting products.

The legislation challenged industry to develop replacement technologies for two of today's most widely used and inefficient technologies:

It also called for development of a 21st Century Lamp that delivers more than 150 lm/W (the complete competition requirements for this category have not yet been fully defined or published, and the category is not open for entries at this time). The L Prize for the 60W incandescent replacement category was awarded in August 2011, including a US$10 million cash prize. That category has since been closed. In addition to significant cash prizes, L Prize-winning products are eligible for federal purchasing agreements, utility programs, and other incentives.

Competition Requirements

The L Prize competition includes technical specifications to ensure compliance with the general requirements outlined in the legislation, with additional details specified for quality, performance, and mass manufacturing intended to meet buyer needs and make the new products true replacements. The competition also includes a rigorous evaluation process for proposed products, designed to detect and address product weaknesses before market introduction, to avoid problems with long-term market acceptance. Comprehensive product evaluation will include performance and lifetime testing conducted by independent laboratories, field assessments conducted in collaboration with utilities and other partners, and stress testing under extreme conditions. Learn more >.

Product Promotion

Program partners will play an important role in promoting and developing markets for the winning L Prize products. Product promotions might include utility incentives, collaborative marketing and educational campaigns, retail partnerships, and demonstrations. A growing number of energy efficiency program partners across the country are poised to participate in product evaluation and promotion of the winning L Prize products. Learn more >

Competition Process

competition process chart

Intent to Submit. To participate in the L Prize competition, interested manufacturers must provide a letter of intent to submit.

Entry Package. Manufacturers must then submit a complete entry package within 45 days that includes the required technical information, various test data, product samples, and a commercial manufacturing plan describing their capability for mass production and distribution of proposed products.

Evaluation Part 1. All submitted information and test data are evaluated for completeness and consistency with program requirements. Entrants are then notified whether their entries are complete.

Evaluation Part 2. Additional testing is performed by DOE, and the L Prize technical review committee assesses the provided technical information, test results, data, and manufacturing capabilities.

  • DOE will conduct photometric testing at independent, NVLAP-accredited laboratories. This part of the testing must be paid by competition entrants.
  • Products that meet the competition requirements will undergo 6,000 hours of elevated temperature lumen and color maintenance testing.
  • At the same time, DOE and program partners will coordinate field assessments to evaluate energy use, lighting system performance, reliability, and customer acceptance.
  • DOE will also conduct stress testing, subjecting products to extreme conditions such as high temperatures, humidity, frequent switching, voltage fluctuation, and electromagnetic interference.

At key stages in the process, DOE may request additional information or follow up with entrants regarding the product or information provided.

Learn more about solid-state lighting at the U.S. Department of Energy Solid-State Lighting Web site

Last Updated: November 7, 2012
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