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Scientists and engineers in the National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV) at NREL use the laboratories, capabilities, and tools within the facilities below in their research and development to provide foundational support for the photovoltaic (PV) industry and PV users.

Solar Energy Research Facility (SERF)

The SERF houses various laboratories used for PV and basic sciences activities such as developing semiconductor materials for high-efficiency solar cells, fabricating prototype solar cells, and measuring and characterizing solar cell and module performance.

Science and Technology Facility (S&TF)

The S&TF is especially designed to accelerate the transfer of PV technology from lab to industry. It includes capabilities for fabricating CIGS, CdTe, silicon, and organic solar cells as well as for characterizing these cells and materials. Some of the tools are configured to be able to transfer between types of deposition and characterization steps without exposure to air.

Outdoor Test Facility (OTF) and Related Facilities

Activities within the OTF and other related facilities help to evaluate PV technologies under simulated, accelerated indoor and outdoor, and prevailing outdoor conditions; develop uniform and consensus standards and codes for testing PV devices; and calibrate primary reference cells for the PV industry.

Regional Test Centers (RTCs)

The Department of Energy Regional Test Centers for solar technologies serve to validate PV technologies in a range of different climate regions.