Given the chance, everyone would be more than happy to get power for free. Solar power is a huge source of energy, and if humans could reliably capture the sun’s rays every day and use it to run our lights then there would be a huge movement to do so and people would come running with dollars in hand. But realistically there have been problems and gaps concerning solar energy that have made it less reliable than other energy sources. Especially if you wanted to power your lights 7 days a week, 365 days a year. A paper by the Consortium for Solar Lighting is aware of this, and it’s attempting to correct the issue.
The group, which is made up of Sharp Electronics, Carmanah Techologies, Inovus Solar and SolarOne Soultions, has recently published a paper entitled, “Solar Lighting Recommened Practices: Introduction.” This Introduction is geared towards helping people properly size their solar systems so that they will provide ample energy for lighting year round; something which the paper states is decidedly lacking in other industry standards that currently exist. The feeling behind the Introduction, which is the first of a planned series, is that solar energy is viable and worthwhile… if you configure it correctly.
The paper’s investigations touches on some of the existing standards, such as NEC, UL, CE and IES (just to name a few) that actually apply tangentially to solar lighting. In so doing the Introduction points out the gaps and flaws in things as they exist, and makes suggestions for positive change by suggesting a need for standards that apply to solar lighting explicitly. But the Introduction doesn’t stop there; in fact it goes on to present diagrams, terminology and everything that you’d need to install an acceptable, outdoor lighting system that can work reliably off of solar energy without a need for any other input now. A great investment for public lighting, especially that used near public buildings, which would be indifferent to things like power outages and energy shortages as long as there was still sunlight to trickle down to the solar panels.