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PV Calibration Insights

The Photovoltaic (PV) Calibration Insights blog will provide updates on the testing done by the NREL PV Device Performance group

This NREL research group measures the performance of any and all technologies and sizes of PV devices from around the world to ensure consistency and accuracy of PV performance measurements. NREL is the United State's premier laboratory for testing the performance of PV cells and modules.

We now provide a full-service website where you can specify your desired PV device performance calibration services, provide sample information, print out required forms, and pay for measurements. This online measurement request process combined with our rapid turnaround time of six week or less means you can get needed calibration results faster.

For more extensive collaborative research projects, nonstandard testing, long-term testing, and testing a large numbers of samples there are several options for working with us, whether you are a PV manufacturer, certification lab, research organization, university, or national laboratory. 

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Development of Specific Technologies Highlighted in New Efficiency Charts

December 05, 2019

To help researchers present technology-specific historical data on champion devices, we created technology-specific champion cell efficiency charts. These charts highlight specific technologies while putting them in context of the larger chart. An example detailing the best research-cell efficiencies for crystalline silicon cells is shown below. Continue reading

How NREL Pushed the Limits of Accuracy in PV Performance Measurements

April 16, 2019 by By Dean Levi

Better PV performance measurements can have a big impact. So how can we reduce the uncertainty in PV performance measurements? In 2015, NREL began to push the limits of reducing uncertainty with fundamental enhancements to the way it calibrates primary reference cells. The result was a major improvement in accuracy. Continue reading

PV Performance Measurements in Six Weeks or Less

August 31, 2018 by Dean Levi

NREL’s PV Cell and Module Performance Group has reduced its turnaround time for PV cell and module testing to a maximum of six weeks. Learn how to request a measurement in this blog post. Continue reading

New NREL Method Reduces Uncertainty in Photovoltaic Module Calibrations

January 29, 2018 by Dean Levi

To reliably calibrate the power of their modules, photovoltaic module manufacturers rely on calibration traceability to certified test laboratories. This reliable calibration, in turn, determines the selling price of the module. The financial impact of each additional 1% uncertainty in module power is up to $3.5 million USD for each 1 gigawatt of production at a module sales price of $0.35/watt.

Continue reading