We conduct research and development (R&D) in solar power, including photovoltaics and concentrating solar power, to strengthen the U.S. solar industry and improve the manufacturability, reliability, and cost competitiveness of solar energy technologies and systems.
Using mirrors to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area where the concentrated light is converted to heat, which drives a generator.
Sandia Labs’ solar photovoltaic (PV) work is focused on developing cost-effective, reliable photovoltaic energy systems and accelerating the integration of PV technology in the United States and globally. The Labs’ PV department provides the technical lead for systems integration and balance-of-systems manufacturing technologies as well as technical support to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in deployment and validation of PV systems for federal agencies, utilities, and other institutional users. Sandia assists industry and users by providing technical assistance, accurate performance measurements, component development and improvement, and system evaluation. A major thrust of the department is to evaluate and improve the performance, reliability, and cost effectiveness of systems and balance-of-systems components.
Sandia’s PV research staff work collaboratively with DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Program, the U.S. photovoltaic industry, other government agencies and national laboratories, and international organizations to increase the worldwide use of PV power systems by reducing cost, improving reliability, increasing performance, removing barriers, and growing markets.
Supporting the development and improvement of solar PV technologies, and providing skilled testing and evaluation of all PV components, including cells, modules, inverters, and balance of system components.
Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)
Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) uses mirrors to concentrate a large area of sunlight, onto a small area. Electrical power is produced when the concentrated light is converted to heat which drives a generator.
In virtually all applications CSP is large power, on the order of 100 MW or larger, that is used by utilities to generate electricity and distribute to consumers. In a CSP plant, solar energy is converted to heat and the heat is used in a conventional power cycle or other heat engine to produce mechanical power and drive a generator.
This unique facility provides experimental engineering data for the design, construction, and operation of unique components and systems in proposed solar thermal electrical plants; planned for large-scale power generation. At 200 feet tall, the NSTTF’s distinct height advantage along with its heat capabilities, offers a unique and complete testing environment to government contractors and agencies, research institutes, universities and private companies.
Sandia will be exhibiting at the largest solar trade show in North America, Solar Power International, in Las Vegas, NV Sept 10-13. Stop by booth #1457 to learn more about Sandia's solar power R&D capabilities in photovoltaics [...]
Sandia solar energy researcher Josh Christian and his colleagues will investigate the effects of the eclipse on the ongoing research performed at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility Today, August 21st, the National [...]
Catalysts of the Climate Economy is a 3-day national innovation summit, September 6-8 in Burlington, Vermont to bring together entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders who are accelerating economic development by solving the unprecedented challenges presented [...]
The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative is hosting the “Hit Me with Your SunShot” photo contest with up to $2,500 in cash prizes, including a $500 grand prize. This new photo contest wants to see how [...]