Department of Energy Funded ‘Green’ Lightbulb To Cost Consumers $50 Apiece

by on 09/03/12 at 4:19 pm

At a fifty-dollar price tag for each bulb, re-bulbing a typical dining room chandelier would cost more that the fixture itself! LESSON LEARNED: Don't let the government design a simple light bulb!

Washington, DC – (

The U.S. government last year announced a $10 million award (the “L Prize”) for any manufacturer who could create a “green” but affordable LED light bulb. Today, a winner was announced!

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the prize would encourage companies to find a way to make the expensive LED lights more “affordable for American families.” The administration was also careful to inject a “buy American” element into the prize deal..portions of the light had to be manufactured in the U.S.

The prize was awarded to Phillips, the bulb was developed and built, and it’s ready for market. It costs $50.

Unsurprisingly, several analysts say the Philips-manufactured bulb is way too expensive to appeal to a broad audience. Think about it: similar LEDs sell for half that price, as the Post points out.

“I don’t want to say it’s exorbitant, but if a customer is only looking at the price, they could come to that conclusion,” Brad Paulsen, merchant for the light-bulb category at Home Depot, the largest U.S. seller of light bulbs, told the Post, “This is a Cadillac product, and that’s why you have a premium on it.”

But wasn’t the entire purpose of the “L Prize” to encourage and incentivize manufactures to build an affordable LED light? How does this make any sense?

“A Philips spokesman declined to talk in detail about the bulb or its price because the product has yet to be formally launched,” the Post reports, “It is expected to hit stores within weeks and is available online. But the spokesman said the L Prize bulb costs more because, as the contest required, it is even more energy-efficient, running on 10 watts instead of 12.5 watts. It is also brighter, renders colors better and lasts longer.”

Given that the typical average American home has about 75 various light bulbs, it is estimated each homeowner would need to scrape up
at least $3,750.00 to retrofit each home with energy saving bulbs that would allow a payback in energy savings in about 75 years.

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