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Photovoltaic Engineering

Photovoltaic (PV) Engineering at NREL supports commercial and emerging PV technology development. Our support covers the following three areas:

  • Engineering Testing and Evaluation. We provide engineering testing and evaluation of PV products developed by companies during work sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). We determine if products meet performance criteria established by DOE for a company's contractual obligations.

  • Standards Development. We support the development of national and international standards. Current work includes investigating methods of preconditioning cadmium telluride and copper indium gallium diselenide PV modules so that when they are tested for reporting conditions, the results are correlated with subsequent field measurements.

  • PV Energy Ratings Methods Validation. We participate in standards committees to help establish an energy rating methodology. We are also evaluating techniques to account for the impact on PV performance of variations in the spectral distribution of solar radiation.

  • PV System Performance Data. We share a range of information gathered from monitoring equipment so that PV performance data sets are available to the solar research and model development community.

Our PV engineering support can incorporate baseline module measurements and characterization from NREL's Device Performance team. Additional work with NREL's PV Performance and Reliability team serves to improve PV technologies.