Energy Assurance for Solar Technologies: The Role of the US DOE Regional Test Center Program

L. Burnham
Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, United States

Keywords: photovoltaics, solar, energy assurance, performance, reliability

The US DOE Regional Test Center (RTC) program, a five-site network of field laboratories managed by Sandia National Laboratories, provides an exacting technical platform for the evaluation of new solar products. Collectively, the five sites represent a range of climates from high heat, high insolation (Nevada) to high heat, high humidity (Florida) to low temperature, with significant snow in the winter (Vermont); we also have sites at Sandia in New Mexico and NREL in Colorado. Each one enables the collection of high-fidelity performance data essential to demonstrating the long-term reliability and performance of solar technologies across multiple operating environments. This poster describes the RTC program, including its technical capabilities and validation protocols, with a specific focus on military applications and on how the RTCs can support US military confidence in the reliability and security of existing and planned solar resources. Specifically, Sandia, which shares a national-security mission with DOD, can provide 1) secure RTC sites representative of the climates in which the DOD operates; 2) an exacting platform for high-fidelity data monitoring and analysis; 3) complete data and equipment confidentiality; and 4) the technical expertise needed to optimize PV systems for specific operating environments.