Goleta Companies Get Major Federal Cash for Lighting Projects

Cree Inc. and Soraa Inc. Awarded More than $2 Million to Develop Energy Efficient LEDs

As California moves to phase out incandescent bulbs, two Goleta semiconductor companies have received more than $2 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop energy efficient LED light sources.

Cree Inc. (whose headquarters is in Durham, North Carolina, but has a technology center for research and development on Storke Road in Goleta) received $1.6 million to fund high-output LED packages. The Goleta-based Soraa Inc. was awarded $678,000 to develop high-output LEDs.

“These investments in cutting-edge lighting technologies will support American innovation, create new manufacturing jobs for U.S. workers, and help ensure that the United States leads the world in this rapidly evolving industry,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in a statement.

Cree Inc. and Soraa Inc. were selected as grant recipients after submitting their project proposals to the Department of Energy.

Monica Hansen, a research scientist for Cree Inc., said that the grant reaffirms her company’s commitment to making energy-inefficient lighting obsolete. “We are confident we will gain successful technology out of [the award money] that will go into our future projects,” said Hansen.

The awards to Cree Inc. and Soraa Inc. are part of a $15 million funding effort by the Department of Energy to accelerate the development of energy-efficient lighting projects by companies in California, New York, Arizona, and North Carolina.

The funding comes during a federal push to phase out incandescent bulbs in favor of lighting sources such LEDs, which have been shown to be 10 times more energy efficient and last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 called for the elimination of most incandescent bulbs by 2014. It allowed California to begin phasing out 100-watt incandescent bulbs early this year—a full year before many other states will be required to phase out the energy inefficient bulbs.

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