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New UL 8801 Standard Helps Advance Safety of PV Lighting

UL 8801 covers low voltage residential, municipal, commercial and recreational luminaire systems with electrical power derived from photovoltaic (PV) modules.

Aerial view of a cityscape at night

June 30, 2022

The first edition of UL 8801, the Standard for Photovoltaic (PV) Luminaire Systems, was published by UL Standards & Engagement and approved by ANSI and SCC on June 15, 2022.

UL 8801 is an American/Canadian bi-national Standard with requirements that apply to low voltage luminaire systems with electrical power derived from photovoltaic modules. The Standard provides the elements used to evaluate requirements for the safety of assemblies, including:

  • PV modules, either separate or integrated with the luminaire
  • Batteries (all chemistries) and charging circuitry
  • Low voltage luminaires
  • Control circuits and related auxiliary devices

Scope of UL 8801

UL 8801 covers PV-powered luminaire systems that can be fully disconnected from the utility grid or include a utility power connection for supplemental battery charging or luminaire operation. This includes luminaires for residential, commercial, industrial, municipal and recreational usage, such as:

  • Garden stake lights
  • Street and parking lot lights
  • Park and pathway lighting
  • Building-mounted security or safety lighting
  • Portable or relocatable structures with lighting

This is a case of converging technologies in which items previously for novelty use (primarily limited to decorative pathway stake lights) now provide viable and practical lighting systems suitable for a wide variety of applications. For remote locations far from an existing electrical utility connection, these systems provide an opportunity to illuminate areas with very little infrastructure or maintenance cost.

PV-powered luminaire systems of this size and power capacity warrant assessment for safety risks at the design stage and for production purposes. UL 8801 can be used to evaluate these components together in a way that helps ensure the power flow between them aligns with their individual known capabilities, system-level cumulative risks (such as heat generation) are properly evaluated, and the system control features adequately manage individual component failure modes.

The future of photovoltaic lighting

Customers looking for products that help reduce their carbon footprint and enhance sustainability are often interested in products that use solar panels, batteries and LED luminairies. These components can now be evaluated together in one safety-certified package under UL 8801.

The safe and widespread utilization of solar energy can have overall positive impacts in many parts of the world, including bringing benefits of electrical illumination to remote and underdeveloped areas. Testing and certification to UL 8801 is an important step to help support these technologies' safe and effective deployment.

"We are pleased to offer testing and certification to UL 8801 as the world looks for new ways to address the challenges of climate change and is eager for innovative solutions that are efficient to install and operate."

  • Steven Kang
  • vice president and general manager, Appliances, HVAC and Lighting, at UL Solutions