Sponsor Deadline
Posted: 4/4/2024

American-Made Challenges: Lighting Prize

The Lighting Prize (L-Prize) is designed to advance the U.S. clean energy economy for next-generation LED lighting, encouraging innovators and researchers to engage in advanced lighting system development that leads to transformative designs, products, and impact. The L-Prize will reward innovations that move rapidly to improve lighting performance, resulting in energy, carbon, and cost savings for American businesses and consumers.

The first Lighting Prize was awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2011, recognizing a high-efficiency LED replacement for the traditional 60-watt A19 incandescent bulb. Today, commercially available LED lights are competitive with all other lighting technologies, but the full technical and application potential of solid-state lighting (SSL) still far exceeds today’s products. Advanced interoperable lighting systems have the potential to better manage lighting energy use, integrate with other building systems, streamline maintenance and operations, and even respond to electric grid signals, increasing the value and resiliency of buildings. The L-Prize, a successor to the first Lighting Prize, seeks to unlock the additional potential to combine high-luminaire efficacy with exceptional lighting quality, data-driven control and functionality, innovative design, construction, and grid flexibility for the future of illumination in commercial and institutional buildings. In addition to these technical innovations, the L-Prize also invites innovation for diversity, equity, and inclusion in how systems are designed, produced, deployed, or installed.

The L-Prize targets commercial sector lighting, which accounts for 37% of national lighting energy use, and encourages lighting innovators to design lighting systems with breakthrough energy efficiency, quality, functionality, and sustainability. A full realization of SSL technology potential envisions LED lighting products manufactured with significant domestic materials, while demonstrating exceptional energy efficiency, data connectivity, seamless lighting control, excellent visual quality, and design for recycling and remanufacturing.

The L-Prize has three distinct phases:

  1. The Concept Phase invites innovative concept proposals from potential competitors.
  2. The Prototype Phase seeks prototype products, emphasizing technological innovation and presenting the opportunity and the challenge to think outside standard forms, materials, and price points of commercially available luminaires.
  3. The Manufacturing and Installation Phase will reward production and installation of real products meeting the L-Prize technical requirements.

Participation in initial phases is not required to be eligible for subsequent phases. In addition, teaming opportunities will connect researchers and product developers with manufacturing partners, contractors, utilities, energy service companies, and others interested in production and installation of lighting systems meeting the L-Prize requirements.

Phase 1: Concept

  • Concept Phase opens: May 17, 2021
  • Concept Phase submission deadline: November 19, 2021 at 5 PM Eastern Time
  • Concept Phase winners announced: January 19, 2022

Phase 2: Prototype

  • Prototype Phase opens: June 30, 2022
  • Prototype Phase Informational Webinar: August 3rd, 2022 2 PM ET
  • Prototype Phase submission deadline: May 1, 2023 at 5 PM ET
  • Prototype Phase winners announced: July 2023

Phase 3: Manufacturing and Installation

  • Manufacturing and Installation Phase opened: April 3, 2024
  • Manufacturing and Installation Phase expression of interest deadline: October 1, 2024
  • Manufacturing and Installation Phase intent to submit deadline: April 1, 2025
  • Manufacturing and Installation Phase submission deadline: August 5, 2025
  • Manufacturing and Installation Phase winners announced: February 2026 (anticipated)
Eligibility Requirements

The U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office invites participation from any entrepreneurial individuals or teams legally residing or based in the United States. Competitors can be individuals of one or multiple organizations, students, university faculty members, small business owners, researchers, or anyone with the desire and drive to transform an idea into an impactful solution.