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The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT 2005) and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) issued directives to the Secretary of Energy to carry out a Next Generation Lighting Initiative to support solid-state lighting (SSL) R&D. The legislation directs DOE to support research, development, demonstration, and commercial application activities related to advanced SSL technologies. In order to effectively fulfill the directives in EPACT 2005 and EISA 2007, DOE developed a comprehensive national strategy to build collaborative efforts with the lighting industry and research community to guide SSL technology innovation. The DOE Lighting R&D Program has been deeply involved in SSL R&D for over a decade—challenging researchers with aggressive reach goals for efficacy and performance, and providing impartial, trusted analysis that identifies gaps in our fundamental understanding and characterizes technology issues early on, alerting manufacturers to needed improvements.

SSL technology, particularly LED-based SSL, is on course to become the dominant lighting technology across all lighting applications. The luminous efficacy of SSL has surpassed previous lighting technologies and still has significant room to improve. Moreover, the LED technology platform offers the opportunity to advance beyond legacy form factors, move past legacy functionality, and enable energy savings beyond improved source efficiency. Learn more about the Lighting R&D Program focus areas


DOE’s Lighting R&D Program engages with hundreds of research partners, from universities and national laboratories, to large companies and small start-ups. Partners are heavily involved program planning via annual workshops, ongoing working groups, and topical meetings.

Three key partnerships support SSL Program activities:

  • The Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance (NGLIA) partners with DOE to enhance the manufacturing and commercialization focus of the DOE portfolio by utilizing the expertise of this organization of SSL manufacturers. Learn more.
  • The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) partners with DOE to work collaboratively to improve the quality and efficiency of lighting through science and engineering. Learn more.
  • The International Association of Lighting Designers (IALD) partners with DOE to provide their professional designers and specifiers with specific, actionable technical information they can use to ask tough questions of their vendors, and thereby exert significant influence on technology development. Learn more.

The SSL Program also collaborates with other federal agencies, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. National Park Service (NPS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and more.

Program Impacts

The 322 solid-state lighting R&D projects DOE has funded to date have resulted in 316 patents applied for or awarded and a huge industry footprint, with literally millions of SSL products currently on the market that are based on at least some DOE-funded R&D. Those products have contributed to more than $4.7 billion in energy savings so far – a remarkable return on the total DOE investment of about $480 million. Learn more about SSL R&D Program Impacts.