DOE temporarily suspends the PAR 38 L Prize competition

Jan. 7, 2011
Effective immediately the DOE has closed the L Prize competition for PAR 38 SSL retrofit lamps, but plans to reopen the competition with modified requirements at Lightfair International in May 2011.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has suspended the PAR 38 portion of the L Prize competition in which companies are working to develop an LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) replacement for halogen lamps. The DOE said it will apply “lessons learned” in the 60W incandescent replacement portion of the competition and reopen the PAR 38 competition at Lightfair International in May with modified competition requirements.

The DOE launched the L Prize program to accelerate the development and adoption of SSL technology. Winners will receive what have been termed significant cash awards and a lucrative market for the winning product through sponsors of the L Prize program and federal purchasing programs.

The DOE did not reveal any details into how it will change the PAR 38 program. The agency stated that the “legislated technical requirements for the PAR 38 competition will remain unchanged.” Yet the L Prize website no longer includes the technical requirements table that specified operational criteria such as lumen output, power consumption, color temperature, CRI, and efficacy.

Apparently the agency had not received a PAR 38 entry to the competition, so the suspension may have little impact on the program.

Philips L Prize candidate SSL replacement lamps

In the 60W replacement portion of the program, Philips remains the only announced entrant. In a DOE update issued in late 2010, the DOE revealed that long-term testing on the Philips lamp had exceeded 3,000 hours. Fourteen L Prize partners have participated in testing the Philips lamp. The products has been deployed in wide-ranging test applications including hotel chandeliers and homes.

According to the DOE report, the agency was ready to begin stress testing of the Philips lamps back in November. The DOE has also formed a Technical Review Committee that will evaluate all of the reports and test results for the Philips lamp and any other entrant. The DOE has not revealed any timeline for publishing results on the Philips entry.