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Technology application R&D projects address broad issues related to SSL technology development and performance, with a view that impacts the entire industry. This research, conducted primarily by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, focuses on applications where existing lighting energy usage is high or where rapid growth in lighting energy use is expected. Basic analytic and experimental studies are conducted to advance the fundamental understanding of the full range of effects of the spectrum, intensity, and duration of light provided by SSL systems, and the implications of those effects for the development of SSL technologies that maximize the efficient production and use of light in multiple applications.

Foundational research identifies gaps in our fundamental understanding and augments our knowledge base on topics such as color rendition and sky glow impacts. Field and laboratory evaluations of emerging products identify and characterize performance issues early on—and feed that information back to manufacturers to speed the pace of technology improvements. This approach creates highly effective feedback loops, inducing manufacturers to make technology improvements with their own funding, more quickly than would otherwise occur. It also feeds back into DOE planning for R&D priorities and annual updates to the R&D Opportunities, allowing DOE to make better informed decisions on R&D investments.


Laboratory testing and field evaluations provide unbiased data and analysis on specific products types, scenarios, and installations.

  • Connected lighting system investigations examine the energy reporting capabilities, interoperability challenges, and cybersecurity vulnerabilities of today’s connected lighting systems.
  • Next Generation Lighting Systems evaluations highlight the challenges involved in specifying, installing, and operating today’s connected lighting systems.
  • GATEWAY field evaluations of high-performance SSL products collect empirical data and document experience with field installations, often revealing product limitations and application issues not apparent in laboratory testing.
  • CALiPER testing investigates specific product types and scenarios in a laboratory or mock-up setting.
  • Tunable lighting studies examine challenges related to specifying, testing, controlling, installing, and operating today’s tunable lighting systems
  • OLED studies examine current OLED product performance; the OLED testing opportunity accelerates OLED technology advances.


Data collection and analysis supplement lab and field evaluations by providing a broad view of product and market trends. 

  • DOE market studies  provide objective market analysis.
  • DOE technical studies provide unbiased technical analysis to inform technology advancements and the development of needed metrics and test methods.


Through original research and collaboration with standards and technical organizations, the DOE SSL program supports new metrics and test methods that help drive technology development. Primary focus areas include:

DOE is also involved in a number of standards development activities related to Connected Lighting Systems.


  • The L Prize competition was created to establish stretch performance goals for SSL and to spur lighting manufacturers to develop breakthrough technology innovations.


The SSL program areas listed below are inactive, but their resources continue to provide valuable insight and data.