U.S. Department of Energy Announces Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize Competition
May 29, 2008
On May 28, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced details on the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize competition. The L Prize™ is the first government-sponsored technology competition designed to spur lighting manufacturers to develop high quality, high efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb. The competition will award cash prizes, and may also lead to opportunities for federal purchasing agreements, utility programs, and other incentives for winning products. The L Prize will continue DOE’s lighting research and development efforts by aiming to radically accelerate America’s shift from inefficient, dated lighting products to innovative, high-performance products.
The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 authorizes DOE to establish the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize competition. The legislation challenges industry to develop replacement technologies for today’s most widely used and inefficient products, 60W incandescent lamps and PAR 38 halogen lamps. Today’s L Prize program announcement specifies technical requirements for these two competition categories. A future L Prize program announcement will call for development of a new “21st Century Lamp,” as authorized in the legislation.
The EISA legislation establishes basic requirements and prize amounts for each category. The legislation authorizes up to $20 million in cash prizes; the exact amount of the cash prize for each category will be determined based on DOE Congressional appropriations and supplemental contributions from foundations and utilities. DOE will contribute up to $1 million to the cash prize purse, subject to enactment of the FY 2009 appropriation. In addition, potential opportunities for future federal purchasing agreements, utility programs, and other incentives for winning products may far exceed the value of the cash prize.
The L Prize program announcement includes technical specifications to ensure compliance with the general requirements outlined in the EISA legislation, with additional details specified for quality, performance, and mass manufacturing. Lighting products meeting the competition requirements would consume just 17% of the energy used by most incandescent lamps in use today. The plan also includes a rigorous evaluation process, including testing of proposed products by independent laboratories (conducted through DOE’s CALiPER test program), as well as field evaluations by DOE and utility partners to assess products in real world conditions. Field evaluations will be conducted using criteria established by DOE’s GATEWAY Demonstration program.
Four major California utilities -- Pacific Gas & Electric, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison -- have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with DOE, agreeing to work cooperatively to promote high-efficiency solid-state lighting technologies. These utility leaders have provided valuable input to the competition planning process and are prepared to implement incentives and promotions to stimulate additional sales for the award-winning products. California utilities face an urgent need to meet aggressive energy efficiency goals in the next decade, and recognize the significant energy-saving potential of solid-state lighting technology.
For more details on the L Prize competition, visit www.lightingprize.org.
As the lead federal agency for solid-state lighting activities, the U.S. Department of Energy has made a long-term commitment to accelerate the research, development, and market introduction of solid-state lighting. DOE-funded R&D projects drive breakthroughs in solid-state lighting efficiency and performance. DOE’s market introduction strategies are closely aligned with research progress to help buyers differentiate good products in good applications, and avoid early buyer dissatisfaction and delay of market development. DOE CALiPER testing of commercially available solid-state lighting products provides unbiased information on product performance. DOE GATEWAY demonstrations showcase solid-state lighting products in real commercial and residential installations. The DOE ENERGY STAR® criteria for solid-state lighting products help buyers identify energy-saving products and make informed decisions. The first ENERGY STAR-labeled solid-state lighting products are expected on the market in late 2008. To learn more about DOE’s solid-state lighting program, visit www.netl.doe.gov/ssl.