Consortium for Solar Lighting founded to accelerate deployment

April 19, 2011
Sharp Electronics, Carmanah Technologies, Inovus Solar, and SolarOne Solutions have founded the Consortium for Solar Lighting to accelerate the adoption of solar lighting through the development of universal specifications.

Formed as an industry-wide organization dedicated to reliable solar lighting that meets outdoor lighting performance requirements, the Consortium for Solar Lighting (CSL) plans to develop universal specifications to help organizations evaluate and specify solar lighting for commercial-scale applications. Sharp Electronics, Carmanah Technologies, Inovus Solar, and SolarOne Solutions are founding members of the CSL that will promote systems that primarily power LED-based solid-state lighting (SSL) due to the energy efficiency of the LED technology.

The founding members have jointly said, “The team’s development of universal specifications will contribute to greater end user understanding and technology adoption. The goal is to improve and standardize communication of performance claims and [we are] eager to facilitate that effort.”

As the name implies, the consortium is focused on off-grid lighting in which solar panels gather energy during daylight hours to charge a battery that in turn powers lighting at night. LED-based lighting is a commonly used source in such applications because SSL is generally more energy efficient than legacy sources and therefore more likely to operate overnight from the solar-charged batteries.

Such solar-powered lighting systems are typically self contained, meaning that the solar collector, batteries and luminaire are all include at the individual pole. The nearby picture shows a Sharp implementation with the luminaire and solar panel in evidence.

Sharp’s solar-powered LED-based light

The CSL organization hopes to deliver a document that defines common terminology and key metrics as its first milestone. A white paper entitled “Solar Lighting Recommended Practices: System Sizing – Preliminary Version” is planned for release on June 15, 2011. Moreover, the founding members will all support the CSL mission in their individual booths at Lightfair International scheduled for May 17-19 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The consortium has been careful to assert that it will not conflict with lighting standards bodies such as CIE and IESNA. The CSL will focus on the energy side of the equation pushing solar power in applications and geographic areas where it is a viable alternative to conventional grid-powered lighting.

The founding members cover a broad application and technology spectrum. Carmanah specializes in solar LED lighting for marine, aviation, traffic, and general off-grid applications. The company for example just announced a solar-powered helipad kit including solar-powered airfield lighting in partnership with ADB Airfield Solutions.

Inovus Solar is focused on solar-powered, LED-based systems for street, parking lot, and other area-lighting applications. SolarOne offers solar lighting systems as well as solar-powered systems for micro-utility applications such as water purification and wireless telecommunications. Sharp is a broad-line supplier of solar-system and LED-lighting technologies that spans products from the component level to complete systems.