American-Made Challenges


Lighting Prize (L-Prize)

The L-Prize will advance the state-of-the-art in LED lighting.
$12.2 Million Total Prize Pool


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 all of the technical areas in the L-Prize carry with them an overarching commitment to driving equity, accessibility, and resilience in the design and deployment of luminaires and connected systems.

The L-Prize targets commercial sector lighting, which accounts for about 56% of national lighting energy use and challenges lighting innovators to develop solid-state lighting (SSL) systems with breakthrough lighting energy efficiency, quality, functionality, and sustainability. SSL technology has the potential to bring widespread deployment of lighting products with exceptional energy efficiency, connectivity, control capabilities, and visual quality that are affordable and accessible to a wide range of businesses and consumers.

DOE’s Building Technologies Office invites lighting innovators to participate in this new competition to bring tomorrow’s lighting into today.

Winning systems must demonstrate exceptional achievement across six distinct categories. Through the challenging criteria within these categories, the competition can directly influence the equity, accessibility, and resilience benefits of advanced lighting systems.

Prize Structure

The L-Prize consists of three distinct phases that will award a total of up to $12.2 million. 

  1. The Concept Phase invited innovative concept proposals from potential competitors. COMPLETE
  2. The Prototype Phase invited 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. COMPLETE
  3. The Manufacturing and Installation Phase will reward production and installation of real products meeting the L-Prize technical requirements.

Participation in the first two phases is not required to be eligible for the final phase, Manufacturing and Installation. 


Please review the official rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize, please subscribe by clicking the Follow button at the top of the webpage. Questions can be sent directly to  or posted in the Forum tab, so that others who have the same questions will be able to see the answers. 



Challenge Updates

DOE Launches L-Prize Manufacturing & Installation Phase

April 3, 2024, 11:39 a.m. PDT by Wendy Graves

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy launched the Manufacturing & Installation (M&I) Phase of its three-phase L-Prize competition, designed to spur groundbreaking innovation, domestic manufacturing, and the benefits of an inclusive, clean-energy economy for next-generation lighting in commercial buildings. Unfolding over 16 months, the M&I Phase will reward production and installation of products that meet L-Prize technical requirements in real-world buildings. Up to four competitors earning the most points based on technical and design innovation, U.S. content, production, and installation will share an award of $10 million.

How to Participate in the L-Prize M&I Phase 

View the official L-Prize Rules to find details about the M&I Phase. 

Register for the M&I Phase informational webinar on May 8, 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern.

L-Prize Prototype Phase Winners Announced

Oct. 25, 2023, 10:06 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Administrator

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected six winners in Phase Two — the Prototype Phase — of the L-Prize competition. The six teams share a prize pool of $2 million for demonstrating exceptional energy efficiency, connectivity and control, visual quality, environmental sustainability, and attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in lighting design, manufacturing, and application. 

In the Prototype Phase, competitors were invited to submit working prototypes that meet the rigorous L-Prize requirements and exceed the capabilities of currently available products in two categories: Luminaires and Connected Systems. All of the winners demonstrated extraordinary performance and capabilities. Winning luminaires overcame historical tradeoffs between efficacy and quality of light to achieve 160+ lumens per watt with exceptional quality of light performance. All winning luminaires and connected systems are digitally interoperable with other luminaires and connected systems using the D4i™ protocol, moving beyond shortcomings of analog 0-10V and proprietary interfaces. Finally, all of the winning connected systems demonstrated resilience and grid interactive features. Winning systems showed resilience to power, internet, and network disruptions, and the capability to dynamically respond to peak demand and price signals from the electric grid. 

Congratulations to the following Luminaire Track winning teams: 

  • Signify Innovation – Bridgewater, New Jersey

Generation Flex: Light Without Compromise is a modular luminaire with groundbreaking efficacy balanced with excellent color quality and novel optics that offer good light distribution with reduced high angle glare. The highly modular design and lightweight form factor provide flexibility and potential sustainability benefits. The team proposed a DEI pilot supply chain program that favors suppliers with DEI programs.

  • Lightly – Boothwyn, Pennsylvania 

Low-Carbon Biodegradable Luminaire is an architectural-grade linear luminaire, utilizing locally sourced materials grown in the United States. The high-efficacy luminaire is made of novel, biodegradable materials, including wood, hemp, and wool as alternatives to plastic and metal. The localized production/supply chain uses poplar harvested in the area, and a declare label provides material transparency.

  • Grid Interactive Efficient Building Alliance (GiEBA) – San Diego, California 

Helios HPR-LP160is a high-efficacy architectural-grade 2’x4’ troffer with integral networked communications based on the open-source Google Thread wireless protocol. The troffer collects and stores luminaire data beyond the L-Prize requirements, and the built-in wireless capability allows for a basic sensor to be installed without wireless capabilities. The luminaire is designed for disassembly with modular components and easy-to-follow end-of-life diagrams for disassembly and recycling. 

Congratulations to the following Connected Systems Track winning teams: 

  • Signify Innovation – Bridgewater, New Jersey 

Interact Next Gen: Light the Way to Building Goals is a simple, scalable wireless solution that interfaces with other building systems. A map-based user interface provides intuitive configuration and control, and role-based apps right-size the capabilities and data to user needs. An all-in-one sensor offers capabilities beyond lighting (e.g., temperature and humidity control, beacon for positioning) and energy harvesting switches provide installation and sustainability benefits with no battery or wiring. 

  • Autani – Columbia, Maryland 

Autani Insights 4REAL, with sensing by Leviton, is a highly interoperable system, with a rich feature set of options and capabilities, that uses open standard protocols. Tiered offerings allow the system to be packaged and right-sized for customer needs and level of sophistication. The comprehensive, well-documented OpenAPI-compliant interface allows access to all available datapoints, enhancing value and energy-savings opportunities through integration with other systems. 

  • McWong International – Sacramento, California

Bluetooth® Mesh Wireless Lighting Control System is a wireless lighting control system with an easy-to-use, intuitive interface. Non-proprietary Bluetooth Mesh communication protocols enable off-the-shelf components to be used and allow more user choice, futureproofing, and cost reduction benefits. The ability to produce a configuration commissioning report offers a quick, unique, and actionable feature for determining compliance with control narratives or developing designer punch lists. 

Learn more about each submission at the HeroX Teams tab.

If you submitted an idea and were not chosen as a Prototype Phase winner, we encourage you to keep innovating and submit an entry to the upcoming Manufacturing and Installation Phase. In the coming weeks, you will receive an e-mail from the prize administrator with comments and feedback on your submission from the judges who reviewed it.

Thank You for Your Participation

We want to thank all teams for competing in the L-Prize Prototype Phase and we hope you continue to be an active member of the L-Prize community. 

If you have questions, please contact 

L-Prize Prototype Phase Submission Deadline Extended

March 28, 2023, 8:25 a.m. PDT by Wendy Graves

The deadline for L-Prize Prototype Phase entry submissions – for both the luminaire track and connected systems track – has been extended until June 1, 2023. Teams who submitted Intent to Submit forms and have been confirmed as eligible for the Prototype Phase will have until June 1, 2023 to submit their luminaire or connected system entries.

L-Prize Deadlines on January 13

Jan. 4, 2023, 11:46 a.m. PST by Wendy Graves

Two L-Prize deadlines are approaching on January 13:

  1. Intents to submit for the L-Prize Prototype Phase are due. The Prototype Phase seeks physical prototype systems, emphasizing technological innovation and challenging entrants to think outside standard forms, materials, and price points of commercially available products. Register on the L-Prize HeroX platform, click on “Solve this Challenge,” accept the competitor agreement, then click on “Begin Entry” and complete the Intent to Submit form, providing a brief description of your intended luminaire or connected system.
  2. The public comment period to provide inputs on the Manufacturing and Installation Phase requirements is closing. The final phase of the L-Prize will reward production and installation of real products meeting the L-Prize technical requirements. Complete the Comment Form and share your input.

Public Comment Period Closing January 13: L-Prize Manufacturing and Installation Phase Requirements

Dec. 15, 2022, 1:31 p.m. PST by Wendy Graves

The final phase of the L-Prize will reward production and installation of real products meeting the L-Prize technical requirements. DOE will evaluate entries on technical performance and innovation in addition to U.S. manufacturing content, deployment strategy, and innovative installation models. Up to four competitors will share an award of $10 million. The public comment period to provide inputs on the Manufacturing and Installation Phase requirements closes on January 13. Complete the Comment Form on the L-Prize website and share your input.