Increased use of solar energy will reduce requirements for non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels and reduce associated greenhouse gas emissions. The benefits of replacing fossil-based energy with solar energy are often dependent on the application and operational or duty cycle for power demand. One particularly efficient use of solar energy is hybrid lighting. In hybrid lighting, solar light is concentrated into optical fibers and then coupled with supplemental electrical lighting to maintain a constant level of illumination. The system is able to offer reliable lighting with less energy consumption from the electrical grid (which is often driven by non-renewable sources). This technique offers energy efficiency benefits since the solar light is used directly and suffers no conversion losses. Furthermore, the solar spectrum provides an illumination that lighting engineers value for it’s quality; office inhabitants appreciate for its comfort; and retailers believe leads to increased sales. When available solar light is low, the hybrid system allows traditional light sources to reliably meet lighting demands. The success of the solar hybrid lighting system is dependent on the collection and transmission efficiency of the system. In this study, the spectral transmission of a hybrid lighting system is characterized. The system is composed of a 200-sun concentration reflective solar collector and a plastic fiber optic distribution network. The ultraviolet (UV), visible, and near-infrared (NIR) spectral transmission was characterized over a spectral range of 200 nm to 2400 nm. The UV and NIR performance of the system is critical since optical fiber damage can be caused by both UV and NIR light; thus, optimal system design maximizes the collection and transmission of visible light while minimizing the transmission of the UV and NIR light. Spectral transmission data for all components in the hybrid system are presented, and performance properties relative to solar applications are discussed.

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