Philips plans consumer launch of L Prize-winning LED lamp

April 17, 2012
Philips has been shipping the L Prize winner into the professional market and the broader consumer launch is coming April 22 on Earth Day.

Philips began shipping the L Prize winning A lamp into the professional market through its lighting distributors early this year, although the company has endured many negative comments about the high price of the product. A broad launch to the residential market, at a slightly lower price is slated for green-oriented Earth Day on April 22. Moreover, there are under-publicized purchase incentives that are already available in the professional segment and more due for residential customers.

Philips' L Prize winner

Indeed there has been considerable condemnation of the high price of the lamp, given that the original L Prize collateral mentioned a lamp in the $25 range. Online wholesaler posted the lamp for sale at a price of $59.99 back in early March.

There is already evidence of slightly lower prices for consumers online. Home Depot is already taking preorders at $49.97. Moreover, Philips said that it is filling the supply chain and stock is due on shelves at Home Depot and other major retailers by April 22.

Purchase incentives

While the price is high, some of the criticism of the price is overbearing. In reality, the price is already being offset by incentives in many cases. The DOE had suggested that incentives would deliver a lower price all along, although Philips has not made those incentives widely known. Andrew Lindstrom, director of business development for lamps in North America said, "Utilities are incenting this product in some markets as high as $25."

In the commercial sector, there are purchase incentives currently offered by the Cape Light (Massachusetts), Puget Sound Energy (Washington), Platte River Power Authority (Colorado), Vermont Efficiency, and SMUD (Sacramento, CA) utilities. The rebates vary from $10 to $25.

With the lamp due at retail in the $50 range, the price issue will likely again become headline news. Philips expects utilities around the US to offer incentives that could range from $5 to $40. The incentives will be set by utilities, and consumers will have to look for those rebates locally from their own utilities, although retailers will likely promote the incentives locally as well.

L Prize lamp design

Meanwhile, we have learned more about the internal design of the L Prize winner from Philips. If you see a photo of the product, you will notice that the remote phosphor is more yellow in color relative to the almost-orange tint of the 65W- and 75W-equivalent lamps that Philips has been selling under the EnduraLED and AmbientLED brands.

The L prize winner actually mixes red and royal blue LEDs in each of the three illumination chambers. The yellow phosphor converts the blue light to white, while largely passing the red light through. Philips' Lindstrom said the technique was required to achieve the greater than 90 CRI required for the L Prize. The red light yields a warmer color temperature and broadens the spectral power distribution for better color rendering.

Mixing LED colors is a technique that has been used broadly by LED makers Cree in its TrueWhite technology and Osram Opto Semiconductor in its Brilliant-Mix technology. But apparently the L Prize winner marks the first time the technique has been used in a standard retrofit lamp.