On Monday, the U.S. Department of Energy launched a new Lighting Prize (L-Prize), designed to spur ground-breaking innovation, domestic manufacturing, and the benefits of an inclusive clean energy economy for next-generation lighting solutions in commercial buildings.

Watch Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm Announce the L-Prize at the Better Buildings Summit here.

The L-Prize will advance the state-of-the-art in LED lighting, encouraging innovators and researchers to engage in advanced lighting system development leading to transformative designs, products, and impact. The challenging technical requirements are intended to stimulate innovative approaches that significantly raise the bar for efficiency, quality of light, connectivity, and overall environmental footprint, while incentives for domestic manufacturing create opportunities for jobs and economic impact.

“Over the past decade, efforts such as the L-Prize competition, lighting standards, and consumer education have contributed to a remarkable 80 percent reduction in average light bulb energy consumption,” said Kelly Speakes-Backman, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “The new L-Prize competition will ensure that this revolution in energy efficiency continues by accelerating the adoption of innovative lighting technologies and expanding the clean-energy workforce.”

The $12 million L-Prize competition has three distinct phases:

The Concept Phase launched this week invites innovative concept proposals from potential competitors. This phase will provide competitors with an opportunity to receive feedback on their concept proposal and potential to receive a cash award. An award of $20,000 each will be awarded to up to 10 of the highest-scoring entries meeting the rigorous L-Prize technical requirements.

The Prototype Phase will invite prototype products, emphasizing technological innovation and presenting the opportunity and challenge to think outside standard forms, materials, and price points of commercially available lighting products. An award of $2 million will be divided among up to three competitors earning the most points for innovation exceeding the minimum L-Prize performance requirements in four areas: efficiency, quality of light, connectivity, and product life cycle, with additional points possible for innovation in diversity, equity, and inclusion in how systems are designed, produced, deployed, or installed.

The follow-on Manufacturing and Installation Phase will reward production and installation of real products meeting the L-Prize technical requirements. An award of $10 million will be divided among up to two competitors earning the most points based on production volume, U.S. content, and U.S. installations, in addition to points earned for innovation in technical specifications and in diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Simultaneously with the opening of the Concept Phase is a public comment period, which will allow input into both the Prototype and Manufacturing & Installation Phases.

Simultaneously with the opening of the Prototype Phase, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will issue a Request for Information (RFI) to seek parties interested in possible teaming arrangements for production and installation of systems meeting the L-Prize requirements. Interested parties may include utilities, energy service companies, installation contractors, manufacturing partners, and others. The teaming partner RFI will be kept open for the duration of the L-Prize competition, and a teaming partner list will be posted publicly and updated regularly to include as many new innovators and partners as possible.

Visit the L-Prize website to view the complete competition requirements and timeline. Register now to participate in an informational webinar about the L-Prize on June 10 at 12:00 Eastern Time.


The L-Prize is led by DOE’s Building Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, with technical assistance from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.