Commercial Grade. -What does this mean anyway?
Perhaps Specification Grade is a more meaningful term – meaning – a qualified lighting and electrical/solar, and civil engineer, is able to sign off EVERY aspect of the product.
For solar lighting, this means there a lot of elements that need to be carefully scrutinised.
1. Lighting. Is it a quality lighting outcome? Does it comply to the applicable lighting code?
- Providing the minimum required lux levels stipulated by the subcategory THROUGHOUT the night (not just when a sensor detects a pedestrian or car).
- NATA certified photometrics.
- Does not exceed glare levels. A light fixture with a tilt of 10 degrees or more from the horizontal may well exceed glare levels and will not comply.
- A warm or natural white colour temperature (3000K to 4300K) unless a very specialised lighting requirement specifying other colour temperatures
- Allowing an industry acceptable maintenance factor for the LEDs or lamp.
2. Compliance. Does the system comply to relevant AS/NZS standards.
- AS 4509.2 stand-alone power system design. If the battery exceeds 1000WH (78AH 12.8V or 39AH 24V battery), the system must comply with AS 4509.2, which requires compliance to AS 3000 electrical wiring rules. This requires clearly marked circuit breakers and fault protection and particular fuses. This photo of the Vertex® Energy Management System (EMS) demonstrates indicative requirements. To clarify, if a solar light has a battery capacity of 1000WH or more, and the solar light does not have the clearly marked miniature circuit breaker and correct circuit breakers/fault protection, it does NOT comply to Australian Standards.
- Very specific ventilation requirements and battery and electrical running gear segregation.
- Very specific solar engine (battery and solar panel) sizing, including derating for temperature fluctuation, voltage drop, component degradation over time, solar panel redundancy co-efficient (allowing for dirt on the solar panels).
- Does the MPPT solar controller comply with IEC62109?
Stating ‘specification grade’ is a lot more tangible and quantifiable than ‘commercial grade’ We note many solar lighting companies are marketing their products as ‘commercial grade’ however these same products are mass produced in China, can be purchased on Alibaba for a fraction of the cost, and do not comply with many if any of the Australian Standards. In
In fact, if a solar lighting is truly ‘specification grade’ it will by default be ‘Industrial Grade’, ‘Military Grade’, ‘Commercial Grade’ and will provide ‘Mission Critical Lighting’.