The US government's $10 million "L Prize" was supposed to go to a manufacturer that developed an affordable low-energy light bulb, but the Philips LED bulb that won—now available for purchase—will set you back $50. LED bulbs similar to the "L Prize" winner can cost less than half that, the Washington Post notes. Indeed, the contest sought a bulb that would go for just $22 its first year on the market, and $8 by its third year.
Following legislation signed by George W. Bush, traditional incandescent bulbs are gradually being banned: This year, it's the 100-watt bulb; next year, the 75-watt, and then the 60-watt. The prize was intended to create an affordable alternative to the 60-watt, the most commonly used bulb. Philips attributes the added cost to the fact that the bulb is so efficient, using just 10 watts, as well as effective. "This is a Cadillac product, and that’s why you have a premium on it," says a Home Depot rep.