Natural daylight is a high quality source of light and is an environmentally friendly way to illuminate the interior of buildings. The challenge is in getting the solar light to areas inside the building that do not receive daylight directly through windows. One solution is to pipe in the sunlight. Orion Energy Systems, Inc., a company based in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, has developed its Apollo ® solar light pipe, which was awarded 2010 product of the year by the National Society of Professional Engineers.
Orion Energy Systems has installed its Apollo solar light pipe system in the facilities of some of its largest customers, including Coca-Cola, Sysco Foods, MillerCoors, Apple and the U.S. Army’s Fort Bliss base in El Paso, Texas. As reported on Globe Newswire in August 2010, Coca Cola granted Orion Energy Systems its 2009 Supplier Excellence Award for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. Orion’s Chairman and CEO, Neal Verfuerth, is quoted in the press release as indicating that by using Orion’s technologies, Coca Cola saves $22.1 million every year, and avoids emitting 125,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Orion received a patent for its Apollo solar light pipe in February 2008. The light pipe has a geometric dome with highly reflective materials that collect and focus the daylight. The patent was granted for the geometrical design, which allows collecting daylight for longer periods of the day than other daylighting products.
When the solar light pipes are integrated into an overall lighting system, including high intensity fluorescent fixtures and control devices, the daylight can replace electrical lighting during peak hours of the day. The sensors in the system detect when the light from the solar pipes meet the lighting requirements and automatically turn off the electrical lighting. According to Orion, the solar light pipes can eliminate the need to use energy from the grid for up to ten hours a day.
In addition to the Apollo solar light pipes, Orion Energy Systems also provides high-intensity fluorescent lighting, LED high-bay lighting, dynamic sensor and control technologies, and solar photovoltaic panels. As reported by Steve Gelsi for Market Watch, the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Newark, New Jersey gets up to 5 percent of its energy from 65,000 square feet of solar panels installed on its roof and is planning to double the size. Anheuser-Busch has an agreement with Orion Energy Systems, whereby Orion makes the capital investment, installs and operates the solar panels. Orion then sells the energy to Anheuser-Busch at a beneficial rate, saving the company money.
Direct renewable solar light pipe – SPIE
Orion Energy Systems, Inc.
Orion Energy Systems Issued Patent for Solar Light Pipe – Globe Newswire
Orion Energy Systems Receives Coca-Cola Enterprises’ First Ever Supplier of the Year Award – Globe Newswire
Steve Gelsi, “Solar-powered beer rolls off line at Newark brewery” – Market Watch