Field test results published for PV LED outdoor lighting system

Oct. 2, 2009
An evaluation program run by the Lighting Research Center showed positive results and good acceptance for PV-powered LED-based outdoor luminaires.
An evaluation program run by the Lighting Research Center showed positive results an good acceptance for PV-powered LED-based outdoor luminaires.

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) has released a new publication detailing field test results for photovoltaic-powered LED luminaires installed at three public, outdoor sites in the Catskill Mountains region of upstate New York.

The project was initiated and co-funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Sullivan Renaissance, a beautification and community improvement program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.

The mission was to examine system performance, photometric performance, energy savings, and whether people accepted the photovoltaic (PV)-powered, LED outdoor lighting system.

The publication, Field Test DELTA: Post-Top Photovoltaic Pathway Luminaire, evaluated twenty-four prototype luminaires designed by Sullivan Renaissance, Philips Hadco and SolarOne® Solutions. The post-top “Renaissance” luminaire with a decorative, Victorian-style appearance that contains LED modules powered by PV panels. The luminaires were installed at three sites in New York’s Sullivan County.

NYSERDA funded the independent evaluation of the installations in the hope that it would spur more widespread adoption of PV-powered LED outdoor lighting. NYSERDA president and CEO Francis Murray said that the three installations combined are expected to save 2700 kWh per year compared to conventional outdoor lighting systems.

“By successfully combining traditional style with contemporary technology, the result was an off-grid luminaire that blended well with the rural surroundings, was well-received by the public, and required no utility power,” said Jennifer Brons, LRC research scientist and DELTA Program manager. “Residents and visitors at all three sites were impressed with the PV LED system.”

Study findings

  • The “Renaissance” luminaires save energy by avoiding conventional utility power, which translates to pollution avoided. In fact, the three installations combined are expected to avoid about 3,000 lbs of CO2 emissions when compared with other lighting scenarios.
  • Light pollution calculations were favorable as the installation of the Renaissance luminaires produced less light that may contribute to sky glow and light trespass.
  • The on/off programming of the luminaires operated as the site managers had hoped throughout all four seasons with little variation, as confirmed through monitoring devices installed at each site.
  • The illuminance levels at all three sites were consistent with IESNA recommendations for similar applications.
  • The Renaissance luminaires were well-liked by residents and visitors at all three sites.
  • The maintenance staff characterized the installation as “easy.”
“The result of these field tests highlight that Philips’ outdoor LED solutions can deliver multiple benefits to a community, in this case significant energy savings and an outdoor lighting experience that enhances the surroundings and simultaneously makes a community feel safer. This is a significant finding which we believe can be replicated in communities around the world, and highlights what is possible when partners with world-leading competencies in lighting and solar join forces with forward-thinking end users,” said Eric Anderson, senior marketing manager, Philips Hadco.

“This project and its findings open the door wider for an array of carbon-reducing technologies and techniques that are evolving at light speed. Accepted as state-of-the-art less than two years ago, the solar lighting system evaluated in this demonstration is today almost 40 percent more efficient,” said Moneer Azzam, president and CEO, SolarOne Solutions. “SolarOne is pleased to be part of the visionary team that is leading these developments and putting them into practice.”

DELTA Program

The DELTA program, sponsored by NYSERDA, was created to “Demonstrate and Evaluate Lighting Technologies and Applications.” The program generates a series of case studies in which lighting technology is evaluated in real-world environments including commercial, residential, retail, institutional, industrial, and outdoor applications. Some of the DELTA studies evaluate technology that is already in the marketplace, while others, called DELTA Field Tests, evaluate lighting technology prototypes and independently verify claims and suggest improvements, when applicable.

DELTA publications feature energy calculations, occupant surveys, feedback from maintenance personnel, photometric field measurements, as well as the environmental impact of energy savings. Specific information about lighting technologies is also included to enable the reader to apply the result to their own application.

Technologies and applications evaluated through the DELTA program have varied over the years. Recent DELTA projects have examined T5 fluorescent luminaires and wireless motion-sensor lighting controls at a distribution center warehouse, integrated classroom lighting addressing both traditional instructional technology (chalkboards) and new audio-visual presentation technology, LED freezer case lighting, and photovoltaic (PV) lighting for bus shelters.