2007 Hybrid solar lighting Southeast

Award Year 

Hybrid solar lighting is a dramatic improvement over con-ventional approaches to bringing sunlight into buildings. The hybrid solar lighting system illuminates the interior spaces of buildings by means of tandem solar and electric lighting sourc-es. The system uses a lightweight, roof-mounted collector to concentrate visible sunlight into a bundle of plastic optical fi-bers that are routed to multiple “hybrid” luminaires within the building. These luminaires blend the natural light with artificial light to (more) maintain a constant level of room lighting. Hybrid solar lighting reduces the cost of lighting in commercial buildings and delivers other significant benefits associated with natural lighting.Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) patented the technol-ogy in 2003 and licensed it in 2005 to Sunlight Direct, LLC, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. A commercial product became avail-able in 2005. Demonstration units were to be deployed at sites across the United States during 2006.Sunlight Direct is a local startup company spun out from ORNL. The principal scientist, Dr. Duncan Earl, was granted part-time entrepreneurial leave status by UT-Battelle, the man-agement and operating contractor for ORNL under contract to the Department of Energy (DOE), and accomplishing the entire transaction required significant coordination with, and cooperation from, DOE with respect to management and ap-proval of processes relating to potential conflicts of interest. (less)