Fed gives $10 mil to Philips LED bulb

The Fed’s Favorite Green Energy Light Bulb Will Set You Back About $50

The government set aside a nice chunk of change as prize money to be awarded to the developer and manufacturer of a low-energy, super-green and affordable (key word there) light bulb. One small problem. The bulb that took the prize purse is going to set you back a couple bucks. About $50 to be exact.

The U.S. government set aside a $10 million “L Prize” as part of their ongoing initiatives to tease alternative energy out of the private sector. That particular sum was meant for the makers of a greener bulb. Philips LED bulb was the selection that won, and it’s not available for purchase if you’ve got $50 on you. LED bulbs in a similar vein once poised to win the “L Prize” can cost less than half of that. The original contest was indeed looking for a bulb that would sell for about $22 during its first year run on the market and sink to about $8 by its third birthday.

You might be excited by alternative energy development, or maybe you’re just sick of hearing about it, but don’t forget that this isn’t totally Obama’s baby. The original legislation banning traditional incandescent bulbs was signed by George W. Bush. This year, it’s the 100-watt bulb, and next will be the 75-watt. Not long after, the 60-watt goes. Safe to say the government isn’t leaving us with a lot of options, but they did mean well, intending the alternative to the 60-watt to be affordable.

Philips says that the reason their bulb is so pricey is because it’s just so darn efficient. It only uses 10 watts and is supposedly highly effective. “This is a Cadillac product, and that’s why you have a premium on it,” said one Home Depot rep.

What do you think? Is an environmentally-friendly light bulb worth $50?