As described in our recent article, ‘’Renewable Green Energy – Hybrid Solar Lighting’’, Hybrid solar lighting, HSL, is gaining more and more acceptance and it is considered to be another form or renewable green energy and another way of tapping the renewable solar energy.As the term denotes, Hybrid Solar Lighting is the combination of natural light we get from the sun and the artificial light that is used when the natural light is nonexistent or not sufficient. The more natural light we use the more use of renewable green energy is made. This means less CO2 emissions and a healthier, greener and more sustainable environment.
Some facts and figures about Hybrid Solar Lighting are listed below in order to provide a broad understanding to the reader, serve as an introduction to Solar Hybrid Solar lighting and stimulate the use and research in this new and promising area of renewable green energy.
- The Hybrid Solar lighting idea even though it was first discussed in the late nineties, it is considered to have been ‘’invented’’ and prototyped in 2004.
- The HSL system was filed for patent in 2004 and finally in 2011 the patent was awarded. The patent number is US7973235.
- The Oak Ridge National Laboratory, ORNL, was probably the first institution which got involved and performed research in Hybrid Solar Lighting, HSL. ORNL so far has done extensive research on HSL and they continue in doing so.
- The ORNL with the HSL R&D has received the National Technology Transfer Award in 2007.
- Hybrid Solar Lighting is more suited for commercial buildings which operate mostly during the ‘’sun hours’’ and are occupied every day including weekends.
- Hybrid Solar Lighting requires following the sun’s path. This dictates the use of tracking system by the HSL system, which depends of latitude, longitude and time of the day.
- HSL reduces the electricity bill of the building for the companies which use the system, since at the time of sunlight, internal lighting is done directly from the sun using the HSL infrastructure. It also reduces the C02 emissions since less electricity is used.
- HSL reduces the building cooling needs since the solar tubes that are used for lighting do not heat up and are always cool. This is because HSL does not have the IR component of light.
- The cost of HSL drops year after year thus making it more attractive to be commercially used
- By the end of 2012 it is expected that the use of HSL will be saving the USA about 50 million KWh per year.
- Hybrid Solar lighting is more efficient than conventional fluorescent and incandescent lighting.
- In order to further develop and promote HSL, there are partnerships between the state, the industry, the utilities, the universities and the various research laboratories.
- The first commercial HSL technology in Australia was installed at RMIT University in Melbourne. The program aims to reduce energy waste, lower the carbon emissions and exploit the renewable green energy sources.
- PV cells are capable of converting only around 15% of the solar energy into electricity Vs the HSL which manages to convert 50% of it into light, thus establishing HSL as a more efficient system
- Sunlight is channelled in the buildings, by the HSL, through the use of plastic optical fibers.
- HSL may have another use. It is currently investigated that apart from the illumination application, HSL would be used for heating water.
From the facts and figures above, one can clearly conclude that Hybrid Solar Lighting is a promising use and exploitation of the renewable green solar energy