Skip to main content

Device Performance Measurement

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is the premier U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) research laboratory for testing performance of commercial, developmental, and research photovoltaic (PV) devices. Our Device Performance group is one of only two laboratories in the world to hold an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 17025 accreditation for primary reference cell and secondary module calibration, in addition to accreditation for secondary reference cell calibration under American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards.

One of only four laboratories in the world certified in accordance with the IEC standard for calibrating terrestrial primary reference PV cells, we test all types of devices from around the world, putting all PV performance measurement "on the same page."

We measure the performance of PV cells and modules with respect to standard reporting conditions-defined as a reference temperature (25°C), total irradiance (1000 W/m2), and spectral irradiance distribution (IEC standard 60904-3). Typically, these are "global" reference conditions, but we can measure with respect to any reference set.

To determine device performance, we conduct two general categories of measurements: spectral responsivity and current versus voltage (I-V). We usually perform these measurements using standard procedures, but we develop new procedures when required by new technologies.

We also serve as an independent facility for verifying device performance for the entire PV community. We help the PV community solve its special measurement problems, giving advice on solar simulation, instrumentation for I-V measurements, reference cells, measurement procedures, and anomalous results. And we collaborate with researchers to analyze devices and materials.

Logo for the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation

     Certificate Number 1239.02

ISO 17025 accredited for photovoltaic secondary cell, secondary module and primary reference cell calibration by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA)

American Association for Laboratory Accreditation

Our facility for calibrating primary reference cells is one of four facilities certified in accordance with the world PV scale. It cooperates internationally to provide the PV community with a path of traceability to standards. We are accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to ISO-17025 standards for primary reference cell, secondary reference cell, and secondary module calibrations for samples that meet the requirements. We help develop consensus in U.S. and international PV standards through participation in ASTM and IEC standards groups.

Whether you are a contractor, manufacturer, research or university organization, or a DOE laboratory, we welcome the opportunity to test your cell or module and provide certified data on spectral responsivity and power, efficiency, and other current versus voltage performance parameters.

Simply fill out the applicable request form below. Upon receipt of your device, we will test, provide results, and issue performance certification similar to the examples under sample results below within two to five weeks for most devices.

Request Forms

Download the request form for measurements on cells or modules, specifying ISO 17025 or non-ISO 17025 measurements.

Note: If you experience a problem opening this form, please follow these instructions. PC users: right-click on the link and select Save Target As. Mac users: Ctrl-click on the link and choose Save Link As. You should then be able to open the saved PDF file.

Use Adobe Reader X or higher (download Adobe Reader) to fill out and print the form, which should be submitted as a hard copy along with the sample. (Note: Mac users should not use the Preview application.)

  • The non-ISO 17025 cell and module calibration services are limited to national PV calibration facilities, certified test laboratories, and the U.S. PV community.
  • The ISO 17025 accredited cell and module measurements are restricted to certified test laboratories and national calibration facilities because this service is commercially available.

Sample Results

  • ISO Certificate
  • Quantum Efficiency
  • Current Versus Voltage I-V Curve
Researcher using spectral responsivity measurement system. Spectral Responsivity Measurement
Simulated Module I-V Measurement Systems Researcher at computer terminal operating simulated module IV measurement system.
Researcher adjusting outdoor equipment used for reference cell calibration. Reference Cell Calibration

For additional information see the Device Performance brochure.

To talk about device performance capabilities and how they might help your PV technology objectives, please contact Keith Emery, 303-880-2913.