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American-Made Challenges

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Lighting Prize (L-Prize)

The L-Prize will advance the state-of-the-art in LED lighting.
stage:
Comment Period Opens
prize:
$12.2 Million Total Prize Pool
Overview

Challenge Overview

The Lighting Prize (L-Prize) is designed to advance the U.S. clean energy economy for next-generation LED lighting, encouraging innovators 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, emissions, and cost savings for American businesses and consumers. The competition will award a total of $12.2 million in cash prizes across three distinct phases: Concept, Prototype, and Manufacturing and Installation. 

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 seeks to unlock that additional potential to combine high-luminaire efficacy with exceptional lighting quality, data-driven control and functionality, and sustainable design and construction for the future of illumination in commercial and institutional buildings. In addition to these technical innovations, the L-Prize also prioritizes diversity, equity, and inclusion in how luminaires or lighting systems can benefit communities that have been historically disadvantaged.

The L-Prize targets commercial sector lighting, which accounts for about 36% 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, control capabilities, visual quality, and design for recycling and remanufacturing.

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

Winning systems must innovate and demonstrate exceptional achievement across all areas.

 

 

Prize Structure

The L-Prize will award a total of $12.2 million in cash prizes across three distinct phases:

  1. The Concept Phase invites innovative concept proposals from potential competitors. This phase is completed.
  2. 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.
  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 potential entrants with manufacturing partners, materials or component suppliers, end-user installation host sites, utilities, energy service companies, installation contractors, and others interested in teaming with or supporting L-Prize teams in the Manufacturing and Installation Phase of the competition.

 

Guidelines

Challenge Guidelines

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. 

 

Timeline
Updates16

Challenge Updates

DOE Launches L-Prize Prototype Phase

June 30, 2022, 2:58 p.m. PDT by Wendy Graves

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy launched the second phase of the L-Prize competition. Designed to spur groundbreaking innovation for next-generation lighting in commercial buildings, the Prototype Phase introduces new separate tracks for luminaires and connected systems, offering potential competitors more pathways and opportunities to participate, be recognized for innovation, and win L-Prize awards. The technical requirements for each track will require innovative approaches that significantly raise the bar for efficacy, quality of light, connectivity, and life-cycle environmental impact. In addition to technical innovation, the L-Prize rewards approaches focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the lighting workforce from design through operation, and promotes high quality lighting in all communities, including those that have been historically disadvantaged. 

Learn more about the L-Prize Prototype Phase

View the official L-Prize Rules to find details about the Prototype Phase. Additionally, three informational webinars about the Prototype Phase will take place in August: 

  • L-Prize Prototype Phase: Overview (Register now), Wednesday, August 3, 1:00–1:45 p.m. Eastern
  • L-Prize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Requirements and Opportunities (Register now), Wednesday, August 17, 1:00–1:45 p.m. Eastern 
  • L-Prize Product Life Cycle and Sustainability: Requirements and Opportunities (Register now), Wednesday, August 17, 2:00–2:45 p.m. Eastern

L-PRIZE UPDATES: CONCEPT PHASE WINNERS, PROTOTYPE PHASE COMING SOON

Feb. 11, 2022, 1:52 p.m. PST by NREL Challenge

Congratulations to the L-Prize Concept Phase winners, announced on February 3 by U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm at the DOE Solid-State Lighting Workshop. 

Project Tango, submitted by Quarkstar of Las Vegas, Nevada. The networked, white-tunable luminaire concept leverages innovations in optics, LED, and power conversion technology to deliver high efficacy, exceptional quality of light, and precise control of light distribution.

Sustainable and Connected Troffer Retrofit, submitted by Orion Energy Systems of Jacksonville, Florida. The concept offers a high-efficacy, networked LED luminaire with advanced controls that can be retrofitted in less than two minutes to an existing fluorescent luminaire.

Laterally Symmetrical Level 3 Engine for 3D Printing, submitted by Smash the Bulb/Bridgelux of Mountain View, California. This 3D-printed semi-indirect luminaire concept uses a high-performance light engine that requires no secondary optics and delivers high efficacy and excellent quality of light; an innovative optical design that reduces losses and addresses glare; and a luminaire housing that can be 3D printed on the job site.

Papaya Modular Lighting Ecosystem, submitted by Papaya of Evanston, Illinois. This highly modular luminaire platform designed by a team from outside the lighting industry uses a unique community-based approach; an all open-source aspect offers opportunities for innovators of all types to participate in evolving and innovating this lighting solution over time.

 

Coming Next: Prototype Phase

Looking ahead, the subsequent phases of the L-Prize will present fresh opportunities for awards and recognition. All eligible entrants are welcome to participate in any of the L-Prize phases and participation in one phase is not required to be eligible for another. 

Phase 2, the Prototype Phase, opens in June 2022 and calls for prototype lighting systems allowing hands-on evaluation for technical performance and innovation. We are currently preparing for the next phase launch, incorporating feedback and experience from the first phase. Stay tuned for more details!


L-Prize Concept Phase Winners Announced!

Feb. 3, 2022, 8:44 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

We’re excited that four teams have been selected and announced as L-Prize Concept Phase winners by the U.S. Department of Energy. These teams were each awarded a $20k cash prize for meeting technical requirements across multiple categories, including feasibility, technical performance, and innovation. 

In the Concept Phase, lighting innovators were invited to create next-generation LED lighting concepts designed to advance the U.S. clean energy economy and leading to transformative designs, products, and impact. The next phase of the contest, the Prototype Phase, calls for prototype lighting systems allowing hands-on evaluation for technical performance and innovation. The Prototype phase is open to all interested competitors.

Congratulations to the following teams: 

Project Description: Quarkstar Project Tango is a networked, white-light-tunable luminaire concept that leverages innovations in optics, LED, and power conversion technology to deliver high efficacy, exceptional quality of light, and precise control of light distribution. 

Project Description: The Orion Sustainable and Connected Troffer Retrofit concept is a high efficacy networked luminaire designed to retrofit an existing fluorescent luminaire to LED technology with an advanced controls platform in less than 2 minutes. 

Project Description: This 3D-printed semi-indirect luminaire concept delivers high efficacy and excellent quality of light. Built around a high-performance light engine that requires no secondary optics, the innovative optical design reduces losses and addresses glare.

Project Description: The Papaya Modular Lighting Ecosystem concept is a highly modular luminaire platform that uses a unique community-based approach. All aspects of the system are made open source, offering opportunities for innovators of all types to participate in evolving and innovating this lighting solution over time. 

 

Learn more about each submission by checking out the HeroX Teams tab.

If you submitted an idea and were not chosen as a Concept Phase winner, we encourage you to keep innovating and submit an entry to the upcoming Prototype 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 Concept Phase and hope you continue to be an active member of the L-Prize community. 

Should you have questions, please feel free to reach out at  Congratulations, again, to the Concept Phase winners! 

 


Reminder: L-Prize Concept Phase Winner Announcement This Thursday!

Feb. 1, 2022, 8 a.m. PST by NREL Challenge

A friendly reminder that the L-Prize Concept Phase winner announcement will take place at the Solid-State Lighting Workshop on Thursday, February 3 at 11 a.m. ET, and you’re invited to join! At this virtual event, Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy, will announce the winners of the Concept Phase. Winners of this Phase will win $20,000 each.

Register today for the live Concept Phase winner announcement on Thursday, February 3 at 11 a.m. ET. 


You’re Invited! L-Prize Concept Phase Winner Announcement

Jan. 28, 2022, 1:04 p.m. PST by NREL Challenge

The L-Prize Concept Phase winner announcement will take place at the Solid-State Lighting Workshop on Thursday, February 3 at 11 a.m. ET, and you’re invited to join! At this virtual event, Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy, will announce the winners of the Concept Phase. Winners of this Phase will win $20,000 each.

In the Concept Phase, lighting innovators were invited to create next-generation LED lighting concepts designed to advance the U.S. clean energy economy and leading to transformative designs, products, and impact. The next phase of the contest, the Prototype Phase, calls for prototype lighting systems allowing hands-on evaluation for technical performance and innovation. The Prototype phase is open to all interested competitors.

If you’ve been following the L-Prize, you won’t want to miss this exciting milestone! Join the live Concept Phase winner announcement on Thursday, February 3 at 11 a.m. ET. Register here.


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