DLC v5.1 – Will Your Rebates be Affected?

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Lighting Incentives, Other Incentives | 0 comments

The Design Lights Consortium (DLC) is making a significant change that can impact lighting rebates. The DLC is transitioning its solid-state requirements from v5.0 to v5.1. Since the majority of rebates require DLC listing, this change may impact your current and future lighting projects.

What is the Design Lights Consortium?

A non-profit organization, the Design Lights Consortium (DLC) sets the standards for LED products. These standards include efficiency, light quality, and controllability. Their specifications ensure consumers are purchasing efficient and dependable lighting. Their lists of qualified products cover most types of commercial and horticulture lighting, along with networked controls.

How the DLC Affects Rebates

The majority of lighting rebate programs use the DLC list for LED incentives. In the United States, between 60 – 80% of rebate programs require the lighting product to be on the DLC list. Some non-listed DLC products may still qualify for a rebate, but the dollar amount is typically lower, and you may need to schedule additional engineering reviews.

What Changes with DLC v5.1?

The new specifications came into effect in 2020 and focus on improving light quality. New requirements to ensure good color rendering and improved efficiency are updated. New standards to reduce glare and dimmable properties are also part of DLC v5.1. The update focuses primarily on improving controllability and light quality. Lighting efficacy requirements stay the same between DLC v5.0 and v5.1.

DLC Executive Director and CEO Christina Halfpenny states,

“The latest technical requirements were developed to improve user satisfaction and comfort, by ensuring enhanced lighting quality and enabling greater energy savings from controls of QPL-listed fixtures. Many commercial lighting energy efficiency programs recognize the importance of features such as dimmability and integral controls and rely on SSL V5.1 compliance for incentive programs.”

Products not meeting the new standards will be removed from the DLC list.

Did you know we have an entire blog feed dedicated the lighting incentives and rebates? We cover topics such as commercial LED rebates, lighting control rebates, bonus programs, rebates and paybacks, and so much more. You can find all of our lighting incentive blogs by clicking here

What LED Products are Affected?

The new DLC standards apply to all LED lighting categories. The organization estimates the list will include over 200,000 lighting products. Even with new products being added, the organization estimates around two-thirds of the current products may no longer be included on the list. Most of these lighting products are older models slowly being phased out or are no longer for sale.

The category most impacted is mogul-based HID replacement lights, also known as corn cobs. Close to 80% of these products are no longer on the DLC list.

Lighting Rebates and the DLC v5.1 Transition

The various lighting rebate programs are approaching the DLC change in different ways. Most are requiring lighting products to meet the new DLC standards, but a few are allowing for a grace period.

Here’s a look at how some lighting rebate programs are addressing the changes.


Eversource has programs in Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and has stated that “only v5.1 products will be accepted for all Eversource lighting incentives beginning on July 1.”


PPL is present throughout a quarter of Pennsylvania. A recent email addresses the new changes.

“Products that meet the requirements of SSL v5.0 will be grandfathered for use if purchased before May 31, 2023.”

Potomac Edison

Potomac Edison covers the western part of Maryland. In an email to their Program Allys, they indicated that “the current and one previous DLC versions are available for use in the program.”

Navigating the DLC Transition

Checking the DLC status of your lighting products on the DLC website can make it easier to navigate the changes. DLC has an online search tool that lets you know which products are approved.

Accessing the website is free, but you will need to create an account with DLC. It only takes a few minutes to register and then you can easily find out if the lighting product is v5.0 or v5.1 approved. It’s a good idea to note the product ID, it makes it a little easier to identify rebate programs.

You have nothing to worry about if the product is on the v5.1 list. However, those listed under v5.0 may require contacting the rebate program to see how to handle the changes.

Even if the lighting product has DLC marked on the packaging, you still want to verify its standing on the website.

If you need help navigating the DLC changes, contact us today. We will help you verify products and ensure you are eligible for all applicable rebates. Call us today at 480-653-8180, email [email protected], or schedule a call that fits your needs by clicking the button below.


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