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NREL's world-class research facilities provide the venue for innovative advances in photovoltaic technologies and applications. These facilities within the National Center for Photovoltaics (NCPV) serve both multi-use and dedicated-use functions. We encourage our research colleagues in industry, universities, and other laboratories to pursue opportunities in working with our staff in these facilities.

Dedicated-Use Facilities

Photo of a red-hot coil glowing inside a round machine.

Research within these facilities focuses on targeted areas of interest that require specific tools, techniques, or unique capabilities. Our two main dedicated-use facilities are the following:

  • Outdoor Test Facility (OTF)
    OTF researchers study and evaluate advanced or emerging PV technologies under simulated, accelerated indoor and outdoor, and prevailing outdoor conditions. Another activity is developing uniform and consensus standards and codes for testing PV devices. Other researchers calibrate primary reference cells for in-house use and for use by other national laboratories, calibration and testing laboratories, and PV manufacturers.

  • Process Development and Integration Laboratory (PDIL)
    The PDIL is a 10,000-square-foot laboratory space dedicated to a new class of tools for thin-film PV deposition, processing, and characterization. Researchers take advantage of the ability to pass samples between equipment without air contamination, and to integrate control systems with databases for improved deposition, measurement, and analysis capabilities.

Multi-Use Facilities

Photo of the S and TF building.

These facilities host NCPV scientists and engineers pursuing a wide range of activities that include computational calculations, materials deposition and processing, solar device fabrication, measurements and characterization, and testing and analysis. Our two main multi-use facilities are:

  • Solar Energy Research Facility (SERF)
    Photovoltaics and basic energy sciences are two major research areas conducted in the SERF. Various laboratories are used for 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 designed specifically to accelerate the transfer of PV technology from laboratory to industry. The S&TF houses the Process Development and Integration Laboratory and nine other laboratories for advanced material synthesis, characterization, and general support.