UL recently listed the first solar luminaires under its new UL 8801 Outline of Investigation (OoI). An OoI is a set of certification requirements prior to formalization as a full safety standard. UL 8801 is expected to become a full safety standard in 2022.
In 2018, UL was approached by a solar luminaire manufacturer about creating a certification at the integrated solar luminaire level, rather than just using certified components: photovoltaic panel, battery, LED light engine, and controls. UL investigated the potential hazards and risks of the interaction between solar luminaire components, especially between the battery and photovoltaic controller, and how to ensure thermal runaway in the batteries is prevented.
The first issue of UL 8801, Outline of Investigation for Photovoltaic-Powered Luminaire Systems, was published by UL, in April 2020. A year later, UL published the second issue of UL 8801 with updated requirements.
Off-grid, solar fixtures have been growing in market share, especially for applications where access to grid power will be expensive. These solar luminaires eliminate trenching, cabling, and electricity costs for end users. They also can:
- reduce liability for municipalities and other government agencies, by increasing public safety,
- reduce a facility’s carbon footprint for increased sustainability,
- reduce the total cost of onsite installation, optimizing the owner’s ROI, and
- prevent theft of copper wiring between luminaires.
The first products to receive UL 8801 safety listing for North America are the SUNLIKE line of commercial, integrated, off-grid, solar light fixture, by SOLTECH, a manufacturer based in Emeryville, CA. Leo Liao, CEO at SOLTECH stated, “We are proud to have worked with UL for several years, inspiring their creation of the UL 8801 Outline of Investigation, for solar luminaires.” Liao added, “We anticipate UL 8801 to eventually become a fully-approved safety standard for solar luminaires, and we’re thrilled that SOLTECH’s SUNLIKE Series is the first product line to get safety listed to UL 8801.”