$10M Prize for Affordable Eco-Bulb Goes to ... $50 Bulb

US government funded contest for low-energy light bulb
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2012 12:24 PM CST
$10M Prize for Affordable Eco-Bulb Goes to ... $50 Bulb
A screen grab of the L Prize-winning bulb.   (Philips.com)

(Newser) – 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. (Read more Philips stories.)

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