UL 8801

Outline of Investigation for Photovoltaic-Powered Luminaire Systems


With energy savings at a premium, UL has developed an Outline of Investigation to address the safety concerns with Photovoltaic- Powered Luminaire Systems.

UL8801 addresses PV systems with the following components: photovoltaic modules, storage batteries, one or more connected luminaires and its controls. These systems can be portable or hard-wired and are typically for outdoor use only.

These systems are independent of the grid and should be installed following NFPA70, Article 690.

I speak with a lot of lighting manufacturer execs under pressure to do more each year with limited resources. This is true across product development / engineering, marketing, business development, and recruiting for important internal positions. When skills aren't in-house or when internal capabilities get over-whelmed, it is time to decide whether to hire or utilize contracted help.

Here are five simple questions and answers to consider:

  1. Do you need a full-time level of effort? If so, it will likely be more cost effective to add a new full-time employee. If you don't need a full-time level of effort, contracted solutions may be more cost-effective in avoiding the costs of full time employee benefits, overhead, and taxes.
  2. Do you need help with a discreet project that may only take months, rather than years? It's not easy to hire for very short-term projects. Contracting will usually be a better solution, and no employees have to be fired.
  3. Do you need a flexible solution where the level of effort can scale up and down over time, based on changing needs? If so, contracted solutions are usually more flexible and cost-effective, until you need a full-time level of effort.
  4. Does your company have internal expertise in an area, but insufficient bandwidth? This is one of the best situations to use contracted solutions. Your internal subject matter expert can manage the contractor, knowledgeably. This expands the bandwidth of the department and keeps all execution responsibility with your internal expert, while giving them the contracted support to succeed and increase the department's productivity. When someone with no subject matter expertise manages a contractor, the client will often bring so many misconceptions about the subject that they make poor decisions managing the contractor / consultant.
  5. Is the work 'core' or 'not core' to the company? Most tier 2 or 3 lighting manufacturers won't hire an in-house accountant, attorney, printer, recruiter, nor caterer, as employees. Why? Because these functions typically aren't core competency that requires in-house staff. These are very familiar examples of smart outsourcing of functions. Areas that are more gray include: graphic design, PR, software engineer (in the age of IoT lighting), marketing content creation, or utility rebate implementation. In these areas, it's generally better to go with contracted solutions, until you need a full-time level of effort.

Article courtesy by David Shiller.

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