Siemens Solar has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nextek Power Systems under which Siemens will market Nextek’s solar-assisted lighting systems in commercial and industrial buildings.CAMARILLO, California, US, 2001-10-10 [SolarAccess.com] The NexStep lighting system incorporates an Integrated Power Module technology, which directly couples the DC electricity generated by the solar panels to the building’s lighting load. This direct coupling of the panels to the load eliminates the losses typically associated with DC-to-AC inverter systems. The result is higher energy conversion and energy utilization. “Essentially, the NexStep system makes use of all the energy produced by the solar array and puts it directly onto the lighting load, maximizing the power conversion efficiency by more than 30 percent when compared to inverter based systems,” says Nextek’s Patrick McLafferty. The high-efficiency lighting systems use Nextek’s DC lighting ballasts that eliminate the first state conversion of AC power to DC commonly found in fluorescent and HID electronic lighting ballasts. The NexStep systems will produce favourable paybacks to customers, and officials claim the initial value propositions indicate the return on investment is significant. Utility companies can benefit from the NexStep system by installing as part of existing peak mitigation load management programs commonly used in conjunction with motors, air-conditioners and electric hot water heaters. NexStep adds a building’s lights to their base load displacement strategies.