Hybrid Solar Lighting - The Best in Hybrid Lighting

Hybrid Solar Lighting is an innovation which has been available as an alternative form of lighting. This new lighting method can easily substitute the currently used incandescent and fluorescent lights. But Lets’ get to know about this ingenious lighting innovation.

We discussed earlier about the benefits of sunlight on the page Solar Tubes. Hybrid Lighting also offers flexibility similar to tubular skylights. Light Fittings in which the optical fibers are terminated also have a provision for installing luminaries like CFL's etc. You use the Sunlight during the day & the artificial light during the night. Isn't it Best of Both the World's!

What is Hybrid Solar Lighting?

The very word Hybrid makes us think about anything that is a combination of two or more things. Natural Sunlight when integrated with the light obtained from light sources is called as Hybrid Solar Lighting. It is also known as fiber optic solar lighting. Light obtained form solar fiber optic lighting is better than any other artificial light source.

The History behind the Innovation

We are aware of the Ancient Egyptians who used devices which allowed sunlight to reach the depths of the pyramids. This kind of solar lighting does just the same thing, but instead of a pyramid it directs light in your room.

This was merely a concept born in the 1990’s era at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. It was claimed as a method of lighting which can support the present internal lighting as well as provide some energy savings. It was also expected to improve the visual quality of the indoor light.

Researchers were unable to convince the industry people about the feasibility of the product in the market and the product could be manufactured at affordable costs for people to buy and start implementing the product in their homes and office buildings.

The use of Plastic Optical Fibers transported the incident sunlight to the (Luminary) which were very much similar to the conventional luminaries’ used. This made it easier for integrating the product easily into buildings which used the available daylight to provide indoor lighting and energy savings as well.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory received financial support for the development of Hybrid Solar Lighting and finally during 2002 a mock up lighting system was installed in ORNL itself. After this installation was completed employees and visitors were able to see and feel the difference between conventional illumination as compared to illumination provided by the Hybrid Solar Lighting system.

Working Mechanism

The working method of the Hybrid Lighting system is relatively simple.

These solar fiber optic lighting systems capture sunlight and direct it to rooms or places wherein tubular skylights or normal skylights cannot be fitted. Optical fibers are used to transfer light from the outer surroundings to the rooms.

Highly reflective parabolic dishes or rooftop collectors are employed for tracking the sun. In rooftop collectors multiple sets of optical fibers are set under the concentrator lenses which focus light on the opening of the optical fiber. Whereas in parabolic dishes light input is given to the entire number of optical fibers at a single point of input instead of the distributed approach of the rooftop collectors.

The optical fibers are then distributed as per the lighting needs. They are then fitted in hybrid light fixtures. The optical fibers are connected to diffusion rods or a milky glass is intercepted to diffuse the light.

Hybrid solar lights are also used in conjunction with the artificial lights. Photo-sensors are used in a closed control loop which monitors and determines how much natural light is required along-with the artificial light to maintain optimum levels of light in that room. They can be used mostly for rooms or places which are directly below the roof.

Benefits for You!

Natural light has been associated with a lot of benefits, some of the popular benefits are

  • Short term exposure of Natural light can help you to generate Vitamin D, which helps you to fight off and prevent number of aliments.

  • More number of people bought stuff from Retail Stores which were lit naturally. Never knew that even the sun contributed in improving your profits!

  • Offices which had ample amount of natural light, their employees were less prone to negative emotions and were more productive and happy with their work.

  • Allowing natural light in your home reduces your reliability on electricity to light your room, so that helps save your hard earned money.

  • The fiber optic solar lighting system is highly capable to light up an area of 1000 Sq Ft. One system can produce a light output up to 50,000 Lumens. But the savings will depend upon which lighting system it replaces less savings if it replaces CFL’s but more savings are guaranteed if it replaces Incandescent Lights.

  • But what about the night time, not to worry! The fitting also has electricity powered light, just switch it on when you need it.

Further challenges for this hybrid lighting system are cost effectiveness which remains as a hurdle to their easy implementation. Lets’ keep a positive outlook towards this technology, it has a lot more in store.

My friend now that you know, you can easily decide whether a hybrid solar lighting system is really worth it!

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