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Group Sets Up Preliminary Guide for Universal Solar Lighting Specs

The Consortium for Solar Lighting, a group founded by Carmanah Technologies, Inovus Solar, Sharp Electronics, SolarOne Solutions, has released its introductory document, “Solar Lighting Recommended Practices: Introduction,” an industry standards resource to contribute to the knowledge base of the solar lighting industry.

The CSL’s first edition of “Recommended Practices: System Sizing” will be available to members in fall 2011, and the document aims to be a solution for system specifiers seeking a single source with which to build effective specifications for their customers.

According to the CSL, a gap in lighting industry standards exists surrounding the effective sizing of a solar lighting system, which can adversely affect the rate of solar adoption in the lighting industry.

The group’s first publication will outline a systematic approach for the effective sizing of solar lighting. Solar lighting has emerged as a new category of outdoor lighting for roadways, parking lots, pathways, shelters and signs, running independently of the electric grid.

At present, there are also no performance or safety guidelines that specifically and comprehensively address the requirements for solar lighting, CSL said. While there are standards that address good lighting practices (e.g. IESNA) and safety of conventional lighting systems and components (e.g., the National Electric Code or the Underwriters Laboratory standards) none cover long-term performance and safety of commercial solar lighting systems directly, CSL said.

According to the CSL, the goal of system sizing is to ensure that the energy input to the system is always greater than the energy output and that sufficient energy is held in reserve to run the light through adverse conditions.

Sizing a solar light is the process of selecting and configuring the solar array, the charging circuit, the battery bank, the luminaire and the lighting profile to produce a reliable system that functions year-round. These systems typically include of a solar array for energy collection, a battery bank for energy storage, and a luminaire as an energy load.

The group said that it intends to review existing resources and compile information on best practices from the array of existing standards, as well as contribute to the existing knowledge base.

Photo: The Consortium for Solar Lighting

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