On June 13, 2014, the Dept. of Energy announced that it had officially suspended the L Prize PAR38 competition. The PAR38 category has been in limbo since Jan. 5, 2011, when it was put on hold.
The reason cited for the official suspension is that market-available LED PAR38 products do not meet the strict criteria set by the L Prize program, and the DOE does not anticipate receiving eligible entries in a satisfactory amount of time. (To date, the DOE has not received any entries in this category.) The DOE cannot change, or lower, the efficacy target established for the PAR38 category because it was previously set by Congress through a provision of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).
Launched in 2008, the L Prize program was the first such product competition sponsored by the federal government that encouraged the research, development, and implementation of high-performance, energy-efficient lighting with a specific focus on solid-state lighting. An L Prize award was previously made in the 60W replacement lamp category, going to Philips. (See Architectural Lighting, Sept. 22, 2011, “ L Prize Winner Announced.”
In addition to the 60W incandescent replacement lamp category and the PAR38 halogen replacement lamp category, EISA also outlined a third category the Twenty-First Century Lamp Prize, which called for the development of an LED replacement lamp that meets 150 lumens per watt or better. The DOE never launched this third category of the L Prize program.
According to the press release, the DOE will continue to observe PAR38 market conditions and will consider reopening the category at a later date should performance and price improvements for this lamp type occur.