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NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
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Power Electronics

Photo of two men in safety glasses working with an inverter device.

Researchers test and evaluate power electronic technologies at NREL's Distributed Energy Resources Test Facility.
Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

NREL conducts research and development (R&D) of distributed energy power electronics in the areas of hardware, controls and optimization, and testing and analysis.

Hardware

  • Design and construction of various power electronics converters such as photovoltaic inverters, battery chargers, and new converter topologies
  • Development of low-cost, reliable modular power electronics building blocks and advanced controller hardware
  • Component selection, design, and development of complete power electronics solutions such as microgrid, stand-alone hybrid power systems, and grid-tied distributed energy resources (DER) systems.

Controls and Optimization

  • Development of power electronics controllers in various firmware platforms and programming languages
  • Development and implementation of advanced control functionalities such as VAR control, voltage regulation, stand-alone/grid connected operation, IEEE 1547 capability, MPPT, battery control, smart grid functions, and microgrid operation
  • Development of system-level control algorithms for hybrid power systems dispatch, load management, and resource optimization
  • Creation of a hardware controller platform optimized for control of grid-connected power electronic systems that can be easily tailored to any need.

Testing and Analysis

  • Power quality, pre-standards grid-compliance, efficiency, and other performance testing of DER components and systems
  • Performance analysis, control, and functional verification of energy storage converters and systems.