American-Made Challenges


Lighting Prize (L-Prize)

The L-Prize will advance the state-of-the-art in LED lighting.

This challenge is closed

Judging Closed
$12.2 Million Total Prize Pool

This challenge is closed


Challenge Overview

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.

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 consists of three distinct phases that will award a total of up to $12.2 million. Participation in initial phases is not required to be eligible for subsequent 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 innovators with manufacturing partners, contractors, utilities, energy service companies, and others interested in production and installation of lighting systems meeting the L-Prize requirements.



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. 


Updates 11

Challenge Updates

LAST DAY TO ENTER: L-Prize Concept Phase

Nov. 19, 2021, 6:11 a.m. PST by Wendy Graves

The deadline for submitting entries to the L-Prize Concept Phase is today, November 19, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time. If you have any questions or experience any technical difficulties when submitting your entry, please contact

DEADLINE APPROACHING: L-Prize Concept Phase Entries Due November 19

Oct. 25, 2021, 11:44 a.m. PDT by Wendy Graves
Three people talking while looking at a computer screen

Less than four weeks left to submit your Concept Phase entry for DOE’s L-Prize competition! Don’t miss this rare chance to share your breakthrough idea for luminaires, sensors, controls, and interfaces that comprise the commercial LED lighting systems of tomorrow.

Read This: L-Prize Concept Phase Offers Rare Opportunity for Innovators

Oct. 19, 2021, 1:20 p.m. PDT by Wendy Graves

Check out this article: L-Prize Concept Phase Offers Rare Opportunity for Innovators, in the October issue of LEDs Magazine. DOE’s L-Prize is the rare chance for anyone with a bold concept to impact the commercial LED lighting industry for years to come and in this article, PNNL’s Kate Hickcox provides an inside look at its unique criteria.

Diving Deep on DEI

Sept. 30, 2021, 9:20 a.m. PDT by Wendy Graves

The L-Prize Concept Phase deadline is fast approaching, and there’s a lot of buzz about some of the more unique aspects of the competition, particularly the opportunity to earn bonus points. While bonus points are available across the board, points under the category of Innovation and Inclusion add another dimension to the innovative nature of the L-Prize. 

What does DOE mean by “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” with the L-Prize? What are some examples that can earn DEI bonus points? Check out the Challenge Forum for answers to these questions and more, and if you have a question not yet answered, send it to .

Read This: The L-Prize Invites Innovators to “Have It All”

Aug. 24, 2021, 1:16 p.m. PDT by Wendy Graves

In the known lighting world, we’ve been stuck with familiar LED tradeoffs and cost realities and a paradigm that “we can’t have it all.” The L-Prize asks, “Why not?” PNNL’s Gabe Arnold explores the competition’s unique challenge and call to arms in the August issue of LD+A Magazine: The L-Prize invites innovators to have it all.

Forum 52
Teams 186