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Lighting Retrofits

The Past

Sunlight Solar has the right knowledge and products for commercial LED lighting. Over 20 years ago we sold LED light bulbs and fixtures for our off-grid solar and RV Solar customers to decrease their energy use. However, they were expensive.

The Present

Today we continually monitor new LED products to the market for all applications and hone our lighting skills. LED bulbs and fixtures are very commercially viable for building retrofits or new construction. They can be used for LEED or other building certifications. In most cases they can cut lighting bills by 50% or more.

Solar + LEDs

Based on the amount they can save, they are nothing short of a revolution. In some cases they are exceeding the savings on a solar electric system.  However, it shouldn’t be this or that. Solar electric companies always say “eat your energy conservation vegetables before your photovoltaic dessert”. The two together can really make a large impact on electrical usage.

Case Study

One of our customers, David Kerr Violin, originally used 36,000 kWh per year. We maximized out his roof with the installation of a 6,500 watt solar system, and saved approximately 7,000 kWh per year or a reduction of 20% off his electric bill.

However by retrofitting all the lighting with new LED bulbs and fixtures we decreased his usage by 7,839 kWh per year. By decreasing his bill with LEDs the solar contribution increased to 25%. Together the LED plus solar reduced his electrical usage by 41%.  The perfect integration of technologies.

Quality Lighting

LED lighting enhances visual aesthetics and comfort over all compact and tube fluorescents. The bellweather for visual comfort has always been the 60-watt incandescent. No matter how hard the compact fluorescent industry tried to replicate it, they have always fallen short.

Fast forward to new LED light bulbs which can replicate the color of the 60 watt incandescent and like its’ predecessor is dimmable.

Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting using metal halide or high pressure sodium both known as high intensity discharge lighting (HID) is everywhere. The problem, besides a relatively short life and expensive ballasts is their color rendering indexes are 60 for metal halides and only 22 on the CRI 100 scale. LEDs can have CRIs up in the 80’s for exterior applications. A quality increase and much longer life. LEDs are fully mature for all outdoor applications such as parking lots, wall packs, flood lights, street, sidewalk and parking applications. We can show less than a four year simple payback on most applications using LEDs.

Interior Lighting

Any incandescent lights including the traditional 60 watt light bulb, halogen, and small spot lights should be a thing of the past. Besides longer life the simple payback is usually within two years.

For compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) the paybacks are longer but worth considering for the quality of light and longevity.

For linear tubes or the pervasive office fluorescent the paybacks are also longer than a change from incandescent to LED but well worth consideration, again for the quality of light, maintenance and long term life.

How to Assess Quality – Specifics

Color Quality: Two color metrics when evaluating the color from a light source.

CRI – Color Rendering Index:  Is the ability of a light source to produce color in objects.   The CRI is expressed on a scale from 0-100, where 100 is the best in producing vibrant color in objects.   A CRI of 80 or more is considered excellent in most interior lighting applications.

CCT – Correlated Color Temperature: Is measured in Kelvin or K, accounts for the color appearance of light sources.  All lamps emit ‘white light’.  The higher the color temperature, the cooler or bluer the light.   The ‘right’ color temperature varies with the application.


Unlike incandescent or fluorescent lighting LEDs usually come with a minimum of a three year warranty.  Yes a warranty!

Commercial Lighting Perspective

Typical U.S. commercial building lighting accounts for close to 35% of electricity.

Key Lighting Terms

Lamp is a bulb.

Luminaire is a fixture.

Lumens are the new watts. The total quantity of light emitted by a lamp.

Lumens per watt.   Often referred to as efficacy, measures the amount of light delivered per watt of power.  Today’s technologies deliver three to four times more lumens/watt than incandescent lamps.

Lumen maintenance refers to how a lamp maintains its light output over time. A lamp’s lumen maintenance factor is the percent of the original light output that remains when the lamp has reached 40 percent of its rated average life in hours.