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Photovoltaic LED Outdoor Lighting System Field Test Results Published

Oct 01, 2009

Lighting Research Center

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Cities and towns across the United States are considering ways to reduce outdoor lighting energy consumption, and much attention is being paid to the use of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The LRC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has released a new publication detailing field test results for photovoltaic-powered LED luminaires installed at three public, outdoor sites in the Catskill Mountains region of upstate New York.
The project was initiated and co-funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Sullivan Renaissance, a beautification and community improvement program principally funded by the Gerry Foundation.

The mission was to examine system performance, photometric performance, energy savings, and whether people accepted the photovoltaic (PV) LED outdoor lighting system. The publication, Field Test DELTA: Post-Top Photovoltaic Pathway Luminaire, evaluated twenty-four prototype Renaissance luminaires designed by Sullivan Renaissance, Philips Hadco and SolarOne® Solutions. The Renaissance is a post-top luminaire with a decorative, Victorian-style appearance that operates LED modules powered by PV panels. The luminaires were installed at three sites in New York’s Sullivan County including Bethel, N.Y., site of the 1969 Woodstock concert festival.

“NYSERDA funded the independent evaluation of the Renaissance luminaire installations in Sullivan County on the hope that it would spur more widespread adoption of PV-powered LED outdoor lighting. The study’s findings are impressive and should help advance the use of this innovative type of lighting,” said NYSERDA President and CEO Francis J. Murray, Jr. “The three installations combined are expected to save 2700 kWhs per year compared to conventional outdoor lighting systems.”

“By successfully combining traditional style with contemporary technology, the result was an off-grid luminaire that blended well with the rural surroundings, was well-received by the public, and required no utility power,” said Jennifer Brons, LRC research scientist and DELTA Program manager. “Residents and visitors at all three sites were impressed with the PV LED system.”

Study findings

* The Renaissance luminaires save energy by avoiding conventional utility power, which translates to pollution avoided. In fact, the three installations combined are expected to avoid about 3,000 lbs of CO2 emissions when compared with other lighting scenarios.
* Light pollution calculations were favorable as the installation of the Renaissance luminaires produced less light that may contribute to sky glow and light trespass.
* The on/off programming of the luminaires operated as the site managers had hoped throughout all four seasons with little variation, as confirmed through monitoring devices installed at each site.
* The illuminance levels at all three sites were consistent with IESNA recommendations for similar applications.
* The Renaissance luminaires were well-liked by residents and visitors at all three sites.
* The maintenance staff characterized the installation as “easy.”

“The result of these field tests highlight that Philips’ outdoor LED solutions can deliver multiple benefits to a community, in this case significant energy savings and an outdoor lighting experience that enhances the surroundings and simultaneously makes a community feel safer. This is a significant finding which we believe can be replicated in communities around the world, and highlights what is possible when partners with world-leading competencies in lighting and solar join forces with forward-thinking end users,” said Eric Anderson, senior marketing manager, Philips Hadco.

“This project and its findings open the door wider for an array of carbon-reducing technologies and techniques that are evolving at light speed. Accepted as state-of-the-art less than two years ago, the solar lighting system evaluated in this demonstration is today almost 40 percent more efficient. SolarOne is pleased to be part of the visionary team that is leading these developments and putting them into practice,” said Moneer H. Azzam, president and CEO, SolarOne Solutions.

For complete details, a PDF version of the publication, Field Test DELTA: Post-Top Photovoltaic (PV) Pathway Luminaire, is available online.

DELTA Program
The DELTA program, sponsored by NYSERDA, was created to “Demonstrate and Evaluate Lighting Technologies and Applications.” The program generates a series of case studies in which lighting technology is evaluated in real-world environments including commercial, residential, retail, institutional, industrial, and outdoor applications. Some of the DELTA studies evaluate technology that is already in the marketplace, while others, called DELTA Field Tests, evaluate lighting technology prototypes and independently verify claims and suggest improvements, when applicable.

DELTA publications feature energy calculations, occupant surveys, feedback from maintenance personnel, photometric field measurements, as well as the environmental impact of energy savings. Specific information about lighting technologies is also included to enable the reader to apply the result to their own application.

Technologies and applications evaluated through the DELTA program have varied over the years. Recent DELTA projects have examined T5 fluorescent luminaires and wireless motion-sensor lighting controls at a distribution center warehouse, integrated classroom lighting addressing both traditional instructional technology (chalkboards) and new audio-visual presentation technology, LED freezer case lighting, and photovoltaic (PV) lighting for bus shelters.

All DELTA publications are available at

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), established in 1975 as a public benefit corporation, provides energy-related technical and financial packaging assistance to businesses and institutions to promote energy efficiency and economic development, as well as providing energy research and development programs that promote safe and economical energy production efficiency technologies in New York State. Learn more at

About Sullivan Renaissance
Since its beginning in 2001, Sullivan Renaissance has funded over 400 community beautification projects in all 6 villages and 15 towns of Sullivan County. The program has grown to include school projects, internships, scholarships, mini-grants, seasonal demonstration grants, municipal cleanups, technical assistance grants, environmental grants and special endeavors like the Board of Realtors Showcase Awards. Learn more at

About Philips Hadco
Philips Hadco is a Philips Lighting company and has been a leader in manufacturing high-performance, exceptional quality, decorative outdoor lighting products since 1953, proudly and professionally serving the municipal, utility, commercial, and residential lighting markets. Philips Hadco specializes in custom and modified products and utilizes the latest technologies available, including world-leading LED solutions. All Philips Hadco products are manufactured to ISO 9001:2000 standards.

About SolarOne Solutions
SolarOne Solutions is a leader in commercial-scale solar powered LED lighting systems, serving applications across the globe, ranging from roadway lighting in United Arab Emirates to advertisement lighting in Ontario Canada. The company developed the patent-pending SO-Bright® control and drive technology to power its HL (High Lumen) LED lamps for general outdoor illumination purposes designed to be efficient and reliable. For more information on SolarOne visit

About the Lighting Research Center
The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world's premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master's programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. Visit

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is the nation's oldest technological university. The university offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in engineering, the sciences, information technology, architecture, management, and the humanities and social sciences. Institute programs serve undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals around the world. Rensselaer faculty are known for pre-eminence in research conducted in a wide range of fields, with particular emphasis in biotechnology, nanotechnology, information technology, and the media arts and technology. The Institute is well known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development.

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