By some estimates, 30% of the electricity used in the United States alone is just from lighting and for retailers that number climbs to 45%. But this next story shows those numbers could drop dramatically simply by letting the sun come in.
Duncan Earl looks like he’s recreating a scene from Starwars but he’s really demonstrating an elegant new lighting system. It could save millions in energy costs, it could improve worker productivity. It’s called Hybrid Solar Lighting and some buildings are already seeing the light.
We’re here on the rooftop of the American Museum of
Science and Energy in Oakridge Tennessee where we are seeing a solar collector that’s part of Sunlight Direct’s HSL3000 system.
The Hybrid Solar Lighting Components
This system consists of a 48-inch diameter primary mirror that concentrates the light towards the secondary mirror. This secondary mirror strips off UV and Infrared wavelengths.
Taking out the Infrared UV light reduces heat in the fiber optics and, why not, you can’t see that light anyway?
The visible light is focused towards the fiber optic receiver. The fiber optic receiver contains optical fibers that then passed into the building interior for building lighting.
Just like electrical wire sent to lighting fixtures, the fibers are easily installed and replaced. Unlike fluorescent lights that require energy, the hybrid solar system only needs one 9-volt battery to power the solar tracking system for a week.
“The solar tracker mechanism consists of two motors that are controlled by GPS microprocessor. The GPS microprocessor can calculate the exact location of the sun to within point 1 degree.” and that makes the lights shine bright.
How Much Light Power It Gives?
“To give you an idea of how much light is emitted by these optical fibers, just 2 of these fibers produce enough light to be equivalent to a 60-watt light bulb and there’s a hundred twenty seven of those optical fibers in our bundle. “
Scratches on this rod help distribute the light but what if it’s cloudy or rainy outside? That’s where the hybrid comes in.
“The lighting fixtures blend the sunlight with the artificial lamps from fluorescent or incandescent lamps that’s to create a hybrid luminary. Photo sensors in the room monitors the intensity and and makes sure the artificial lamps are ramped up or decreased proportionally to keep a constant room illumination.”