Optics 101

Hybrid Solar Lighting - What is Hybrid Solar Lighting and Using Optical Fiber to Distribute Sunlight

Hybrid solar lighting technology is a technology that is capable of collecting sunlight and distributing the collected sunlight into the interior of a building using optical fibers. Hybrid solar technology provides a new and powerful means to reduce the energy consumed and at the same time delivering additional benefits related with natural lighting in homes and in buildings.

Hybrid solar lighting also has the potential to drastically reduce the energy consumption for retailers while also maintaining the required lighting quality of a retail environment.

How Hybrid Solar Lighting Works?

One of the major components of a hybrid solar lighting system is the sunlight collector. The sunlight collector is composed of a large parabolic primary mirror and a secondary mirror. These mirrors are engineered to bring the visible portion of sunlight into focus and into a bunch of plastic optical fibers.

Apart from the mirrors, each solar collector contains a number of components and hardwares such as two-axis tracking hardware, optical filters, optical fibers, electronic tracking controls and mounting hardware for the mirrors.

The solar collectors are mounted on pipes that penetrate into the roof of the building. The placement of the solar collectors is preferred to be centered above the light fixtures to which the solar collector supplies the light. The light fixture is slightly modified for the accommodation of a sunlight diffusing rod that spatially distributes the sunlight. To regulate the electric lighting and to reduce the electric lighting load, a control system and traditional electronic dimming ballasts are employed.

Advantages of Hybrid Solar Lighting Systems

Besides energy savings, hybrid solar lighting systems generate little waste heat and deliver the benefits of natural lighting without the disadvantages of conventional daylighting technologies such as windows or skylights.

Source: AZoOptics

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