U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Building Technologies Office – Market-Based Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About the Technology Demonstration GATEWAY Program

This page addresses many of the questions about the DOE Solid-State Lighting Technology Demonstration GATEWAY program raised by potential eligible participants, such as manufacturers, demonstration host sites, utilities, and energy efficiency organizations.

What is the DOE Solid-State Lighting (SSL) Technology Demonstration GATEWAY program?

DOE's SSL Technology Demonstration GATEWAY program features high-performance SSL products for general illumination in a variety of exterior and interior applications. Eligible products are installed at demonstration host sites, where their performance can be evaluated. Performance measures include energy consumption, light output/distribution, and installation/interface/control issues. Qualitative performance is investigated via feedback surveys of the relevant user communities. 

Demonstration results are widely shared and provide real-world experience and data on product performance and cost-effectiveness. They also enable users to evaluate and refine their lighting requirements before making large-scale purchasing decisions.

Who can participate in DOE's SSL GATEWAY demonstrations?

The DOE SSL GATEWAY demonstration program is open to the following eligible participants:

  • Manufacturers or product teams nearing commercialization with their SSL products intended for residential, commercial, and industrial lighting applications
  • Demonstration host sites
  • Utilities
  • Energy efficiency organizations

Notes on participant eligibility:

  1. Eligible manufacturers or product teams are limited to U.S. companies. U.S. companies are defined in EPAct 2005 as those companies that are U.S.-owned or incorporated or companies organized under the laws of any state and having a parent company which is incorporated or organized under the laws of a country that affords treatment to United States-owned companies that is comparable to treatment the United States affords foreign-owned companies in the following areas: access to government-supported joint ventures in energy research and development, general investment opportunities, and protection of intellectual property rights.

  2. Eligible demonstration sites are limited to U.S. sites only.

On behalf of DOE, PNNL assembles demonstration teams matching host sites with appropriate products and partners. Each team typically consists of a product manufacturer (or a collaboration between component manufacturers/product teams), a host site, an energy efficiency organization/utility local to the host site (as applicable), and PNNL. The number of individual teams and demonstration projects will be guided by the number of suitable products available and host sites in which to demonstrate them, as well as available resources. Both private sector and government host sites will be considered.

Manufacturers or product teams can also apply, at their option, with host sites identified for their particular products/applications. Likewise, host sites and utilities or efficiency organizations, especially those with ongoing or new efficient lighting programs are also encouraged to apply, with or without specific applications or manufacturer/product partners.

What is the demonstration process?

The overall project consists of six phases, some of which run concurrently:

  1. Initial Screening: Products and host sites are screened based on the contents of the submitted applications. Prospective products and host sites deemed appropriate and eligible by the screening process are informed of their eligibility for participating in DOE SSL demonstrations, or asked to provide additional information.

  2. Participant Team Identification: Host sites and team members are identified to carry out the actual demonstration of products satisfying the selection criteria.

  3. Laboratory Testing: Testing (both short- and longer-term) of samples of each product submitted after passing the initial screening is conducted to establish or verify important measures of product performance. This step is performed concurrently with the team identification process.

  4. Installation: Products are installed with appropriate pre- and post measurements, and additional demonstration steps carried out, including any publicity and education events.

  5. Evaluation: PNNL conducts evaluations of the results, including energy and cost savings and related economic analyses, as well as qualitative occupant and user responses to the installed LED light source.

  6. Results Reporting: Results of successful demonstrations are widely publicized as part of DOE's SSL commercialization efforts, subject to DOE's restrictions on commercial endorsement, with results from long-term testing to be released as they become available. While no sales of demonstrated products are assured, DOE expects large-scale product purchases or promotions by demonstration team members will also occur at this stage for products that have sufficiently performed to buyers' satisfaction.

What are demonstration team member responsibilities?

A teaming agreement will be developed for each demonstration project. DOE will be responsible for evaluating proposed products for suitability, conducting product performance testing, assisting in identifying and evaluating suitable host sites, providing coordination of the overall activity, evaluating and reporting the results (both quantitative and qualitative), and supporting demonstration publicity and outreach, as well as subsequent project information dissemination.

Notes on DOE demonstration support:

DOE does not provide any financial support for GATEWAY demonstrations. DOE only provides technical support for GATEWAY demonstrations through independent product testing, interpretation of test and demonstration results, assistance in coordination of projects, and preparation of reports.

DOE intends for each of the other team members in a particular collaboration to make an essential contribution, subject to negotiation, as follows:

  • Lighting Manufacturers (including collaborations): Loan/make available products to be demonstrated, and at their option, participate further in identification/nomination of host sites, assisting in application reviews and site installation.

  • Host Site Organizations: Offer locations for product demonstration, installation support, along with a willingness to participate in demonstration-related activities to promote user awareness (such as tours, web casts, photographs, etc.); assist in the evaluation/measurement process.

  • Energy Efficiency Organizations/Utilities: Provide contacts with potential host site organizations and support host sites as needed to ensure that demonstrations may proceed smoothly; provide/assist with outreach/promotional activities, information dissemination about the demonstration, and reviewing/communicating the results.

Team members are not restricted to a single team or a particular project; a large hosting organization might demonstrate products from more than one manufacturer or a single manufacturer might participate with multiple products designed for different applications and locations. The responsibility for any lighting design and installation services will be determined on a project-specific basis.

At the time each team is formed, roles and responsibilities will be clarified and documented in a Teaming Agreement. A key component of each teaming agreement is that no contractual agreement exists between DOE (or its contractors) and any of the team members. Each team member agrees to act in good faith and bears its own costs needed to reach the mutually desired end goal. The universally advantageous outcome of demonstrating the benefits of SSL is the primary motivation behind the team.

What's involved in the selection process?

Products chosen for demonstration will be selected based on their potential to demonstrate the advanced state of the art in LED technology, while being economically sound investments for the building owner/investor. DOE is interested in products that will be economically justifiable and that can eventually impact a large segment of the lighting market.

An important factor in determining the suitability of products for field demonstration is their expected commercial availability date. Manufacturers must assure that products intended for a field demonstration site will be commercially available within three months of the start of the project, and must be ready to submit samples of their products for evaluation upon approval of their application to participate. Products not meeting this requirement will not be put into a field demonstration site, although they might be selected for individual demonstration with other prototypes, or put into a queue for site demonstration at a later date.

Host site locations and utilities/efficiency organizations will be considered based on their geographical location, application suitability, and willingness to participate in demonstration-related activities to promote user awareness (such as tours, webcasts, photographs, etc.), as well as information dissemination about the demonstration and communication of the results. The interest of the utility/efficiency organization in assisting PNNL with the measurement and evaluation process is also welcomed.

How long will a typical SSL GATEWAY demonstration take?

DOE SSL GATEWAY demonstrations are designed to provide users with an opportunity to evaluate SSL product performance and gain experience with their daily operations, as well as creating additional public exposure for the intended applications. As such, the demonstrations do not have a fixed length. However, there are a number of factors that affect the implementation period, including:

  • The time required for the team to agree on members' individual roles, responsibilities, contributions, and start dates

  • The availability of products from manufacturers for evaluation and installation

  • The time required to conduct measurements before and after product installation, and applicable user surveys

When team members and products are prepared for implementation, the demonstration process can quickly take place, and may only require four to six months from start to finish. Some additional time may be required in the preparation of demonstration Results Reports, as some test results (such as lumen depreciation) may take longer than the demonstration period. Additional time may also be required for outreach and public education events if the application, location, and participants agree on the importance of such activities.

How will the information from demonstrations be used?

DOE GATEWAY demonstrations are intended to introduce new lighting technologies into appropriate applications in order to provide users an opportunity to evaluate product performance and gain experience with their daily operations, as well as to increase the public's awareness of advanced lighting technologies.

The demonstration process provides the users with a basis for evaluating and refining their lighting requirements, and ultimately for developing a sound understanding of the new technology before a decision is made to enter into the formal acquisition process. There is valuable information to be gained and shared through demonstrations in which commercial or soon-to-be commercial SSL products are installed in "real world" applications, often side-by-side with similar applications using other light sources. DOE intends to capture and share this information through the SSL website, SSL GATEWAY demonstration results reports, and other updates.

DOE is also considering future establishment of dedicated working alliances or consortiums involving multiple team members, host site organizations, and other entities for sharing information among large groups of users with similar needs. Participants in these alliances might further join or initiate procurement efforts for high-efficiency applications using information gained from demonstration projects, resulting in large-scale purchases and/or promotion of featured products.