After temporarily suspending the PAR38 reflector lamp category of the L Prize competition in January 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has reopened the competition and updated the requirements to be more in tune with current market conditions. The revisions incorporate feedback from lighting industry members as well as data analysis from the DOE’s LED Lighting Facts program. The three main changes to the criteria in which PAR38 replacements lamps will be evaluated are:

1.    A broader beam angle of up to 15 degrees will be allowed. Previously, the allowable beam angle spread was between 9 to 12 degrees.

2.    The requirement for the first year’s production quantity to be a minimum of 250,000 units has been omitted.

3.    The requirement that the LED chips be U.S.-produced has been omitted, but final assembly of the lamp must still take place in the United States. According to the DOE, “This change reflects currently viable domestic manufacturing options and removes barriers for more U.S. companies to enter, while continuing to promote technology innovation.”

The L Prize competition was established by Congress and outlined in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. It officially launched in 2008 as a means of encouraging companies in their research, development, and market deliverability of high-performance, high-efficiency solid-state lighting alternatives for two of the most commonly used types of lamps: the 60W incandescent and the PAR38 halogen. The 60W category closed in August 2011–with the first L Prize going to Philips. (See “L Prize Winner Announced.”)

For full details on how to enter the L Prize PAR38 replacement lamp competition go to