Hybrid Solar Lighting Making Progress

Aug 7, 2006, 19:16 MST

OAK RIDGE, TN, United States (UPI) -- U.S. government scientists say they`re pleased with progress made in creating a hybrid solar lighting system at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Researchers at the Department of Energy facility say five hybrid solar lighting systems are already in place and another 20 are to be soon installed.

'This is the ultimate `green` technology,' said Duncan Earl, a co-developer of the technology and chief technology officer of Oak Ridge startup company Sunlight Direct, which licensed the technology from ORNL last year.

The hybrid solar lighting technology uses a rooftop-mounted 48-inch diameter collector and secondary mirror that track the sun during the day. The collector system focuses the sunlight into 127 optical fibers connected to hybrid light fixtures equipped with diffusion rods visually similar to fluorescent light bulbs. Those rods spread light in all directions.

One collector powers eight to 12 hybrid light fixtures, which can illuminate about 1,000 square feet. During times of little or no sunlight, a sensor controls the intensity of the artificial lamps to maintain a constant level of illumination.

Beta testing will be conducted at various locations in California, Nevada, New York, Minnesota and Texas.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International