Dutch electronics giant Philips introduced their award-winning 20-year LED lightbulb to U.S. markets on Sunday and is working with suppliers to cut the 10-watt bulb's current $50 price tag in half over the next year, the Associated Press reports.
The bulb's public debut comes after years of development and winning last year's "Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize," a competition launched by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop alternative sources of lighting. One of the stipulations of the competition was that the bulb be sold for $22 or less in its first year on the market.
But even at that price, LED lights faces serious competition from $1 incandescent lightbulbs and CFLs (compact-fluorescent bulbs), which normally retail for around $5 and can last for up to 10,000 hours, according to TreeHugger.
Philips says the cost of the LED lamp is easily offset by savings: if consumers use the bulb for four hours daily, they can save $8 per year on electricity, or about $160 over the bulb's lifespan, the Associated Press reports. And the LED bulbs are less toxic to the environment because they don't contain mercury vapors.
The company said in a press release earlier this year that "If every 60-watt incandescent bulb in the U.S. was replaced with the 10-watt L Prize winner, the nation would save about 35 terawatt-hours of electricity or $3.9 billion in one year and avoid 20 million metric tons of carbon emissions."
The transition from incandescent bulbs to energy-saving alternatives is already underway thanks to legislation such as 2007's Energy Independence and Security Act, which banned 100-watt incandescent bulbs and provided a timetable for phasing bulbs with lesser wattage out altogether. From 2014, all incandescent bulbs using 40 watts of electricity or more will be banned in the U.S., according to the Washington Post.