Philips on Sunday will start selling an LED bulb that sets a new bar for performance -- and price.
The company will release the Philips L Prize LED on Earth Day for $50, which includes an "automatic incentive" from the company. The general-lighting bulb came out of the Department of Energy's L Prize competition to develop long-lasting, efficient, and less expensive LED lamps.
Philips claims its L Prize LED is the most efficient 60-watt LED equivalent and improves on features from Philips own existing LEDs.
It gives off 940 lumens, consumes 9.7 watts, and has a color rendering index, which is a measure of light quality, of 93. It's also rated to last 30,000 hours, which would be 20 years if used four hours a day. The color temperature is 2700, similar to an incandescent bulb, and it's dimmable.
In terms of price, Philips is offering an "automatic incentive," a discount that takes $10 off the actual price of $60. Other local rebates can bring the cost down to as low as $25. Philips expects it to get the EnergyStar rating.
The bulb is significant in that it is far more efficient than other LED and compact florescent bulbs in the popular 60-watt equivalent category. At 96 lumens per watt, the L Prize LED is about 50 percent more efficient than Philips' AmbientLED.
The color rendering index is also significantly higher and -- to people with discerning eyes -- should be a noticeable improvement in light quality.
To design and manufacture such a bulb, however, leads to a $60 price tag, much more than people pay for other lighting technologies and higher than the DOE L Prize price target of $22. Philips' existing 60-watt replacement costs between $25 and $30.
Online reviewers who have purchased LED bulbs are generally happy with the performance and willing to pay a higher upfront cost for the energy savings over time. Philips estimates the L Prize bulb will save $165 over its lifetime.