American-Made Challenges


Lighting Prize (L-Prize)

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

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 2

Challenge Updates

Now Streaming - L-Prize Concept Phase Rules Webinar

June 15, 2021, 12:40 p.m. PDT by NREL Challenge

In case you missed the L-Prize Concept Phase Rules Webinar, here's the recording! You can also access the recording and the slide deck here!

We encourage you to review the rules and submit questions to and view all questions on the forum.

L-Prize Informational Webinar on June 10

June 2, 2021, 11:21 a.m. PDT by Wendy Graves

Don’t miss the L-Prize informational webinar on Thursday, June 10! This webinar will dive into the details on the Concept Phase requirements and timeline—and offer a quick tutorial on how to use the HeroX prize platform to post questions, connect with collaborators, and stay current.

The newly launched L-Prize will advance the state of the art in LED lighting, encouraging innovators and researchers to engage in advanced lighting system development leading to transformative designs, products, and impact. The challenging technical requirements are intended to stimulate innovative approaches that significantly raise the bar for efficiency, quality of light, connectivity, and overall environmental footprint, while incentives for domestic manufacturing create opportunities for jobs and economic impact. 

Register now to participate in the webinar on June 10, from 12:00–1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.


Forum 12
Teams 72