Photovoltaic (PV) lighting as an emerging technology
A decade ago, photovoltaic (PV) lighting options were either cumbersome commercial systems or small novelty items of little interest to the broader lighting market with minimal regulation. Now, with new technologies demonstrating greatly enhanced energy efficiency, a market for viable and practical mid-sized PV lighting systems suitable for a wide variety of applications is growing. The emergence of these products combined with increased interest in solar and green energy drives the need to create benchmarks for new PV lighting products in the marketplace.
PV-powered luminaire systems are ideal for illuminating areas without a utility connection or to reduce the electrical use and cost for areas with an available connection. As a result, PV solutions interest manufacturers, property owners, utilities and municipalities, and many other stakeholders. Typical applications in residential, public spaces and infrastructure include:
- Pathway stake lights
- Driveway or garden post lights
- Exterior building wall-mounted area lighting
- Municipal park post lights
- Parking and area lighting
UL 8801, a standard for solar photovoltaic systems
UL recently announced the second edition of UL 8801, Outline of Investigation (OOI) to provide safety certification specifically for luminaires and their systems, plus Annex B to address output of power ports and to clarify the requirements for connecting a supplemental utility power source.
PV lighting has applications in multiple segments in and related to the lighting industry, including:
- Lighting manufacturers that design, brand or bring to market PV lighting systems
- Lighting manufacturers that design, brand or bring to market low voltage luminaires and components (with or without integral batteries)
- Commercial component controls manufacturers who sell to lighting manufacturers
- Infrastructure component control manufacturers who sell to lighting and control brands for roadway, pedestrian right of way and building area lighting applications
While UL can also help you evaluate more complex PV modules, the new UL 8801 OOI was designed specifically to address luminaires.
Our services for UL 8801include safety testing to help you manage the safety risks at a level comparable to that of other lighting equipment currently subject to the National Electrical Code (NEC) and code-authority oversight.
Safety certification to earn the UL Mark is based on the PV modules’ compliance with a subset of the requirements of IEC/UL 61730. Testing for the battery system, controls and luminaires (or LED arrays and driver circuitry) is also targeted and streamlined.