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DOE Updates L Prize PAR38 Competition

July 31, 2013

As part of the Energy Department’s commitment to driving innovation in U.S. manufacturing and helping American businesses and consumers save money by saving energy, the Department has updated the Bright Tomorrow Lighting Prize (L Prize) competition requirements for the PAR38 category. The L Prize competition challenges the lighting industry to develop high performance, energy-saving replacements for conventional light bulbs. The competition will spur leading-edge companies to build innovative LED replacements for conventional parabolic aluminized reflector (PAR38) lamps, commonly known as spot or flood lamps, which are in widespread use in retail businesses and as outdoor security lights and track lights. Three changes are being implemented to keep driving innovation toward the challenging L Prize targets, particularly the efficacy target, but better reflect existing market realities in three areas:

  1. A slightly broader beam angle up to 15° will be allowed.
  2. The requirement for production of at least 250,000 units in the first year has been dropped.
  3. The requirement for US-produced LED chips has been dropped; final assembly of the lamp must take place in the U.S.

All other technical challenges as stipulated in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA 2007) remain in place.

Approximately 90 million PAR38 light bulbs are installed in the U.S., in both residential and commercial applications. The Energy Department estimates that replacing them with bulbs efficient enough to win the L Prize would save the country 11 terawatt-hours of electricity per year—approximately equivalent to the annual electricity consumption of Washington, D.C.—and avoid 7 million metric tons of carbon emissions.

The L Prize was established by Congress in EISA 2007. The Energy Department launched the L Prize competition in May 2008 to spur development of exceptionally high-performance, ultra-efficient LED alternatives for two of the most widely used light bulbs: 60-watt incandescent lamps and PAR38 halogen lamps. The first L Prize was awarded in the 60-watt category in August 2011 to Philips Lighting North America. The winning product hit retail store shelves in spring 2012.

Transforming the Lighting Landscape

The rigorous performance testing needed to win the L Prize ensures that the efficiency, performance, quality, and lifetime of winning products meet expectations for mass manufacturing and widespread adoption.

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