We use Irender with Sketchup as a rendering software for showing lighting effects. I was wondering if there was a way to make coloured lighting show on black materials. For example, in the model i'm making just now there are black panels which will be lit using bright yellow uplighters. No matter what I try I can't make the lights show, however in real life, although on a dark material, you would still see the coloured lights.

Can you suggest anything? 

I have never experimented with it in the real world myself, but people tell me that pure black, by definition, cannot reflect any light and that there really isn’t anything that is pure black in the real world.

We treat black, RGB(0,0,0), as truly black.
Make it very dark instead.
 
In the image below , where you can see the light, has black is set  at RGB(5,5,5)

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