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.

The Sandia Solar Programs e-newsletter features highlights, key activities, events, and publications.

Focused on developing cost-effective, reliable photovoltaic energy systems and accelerating the integration of PV technology in the United States and globally.

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.

Use microdesign and microfabrication techniques to produce miniaturized solar cells that are released into a solution similar to printing ink.

Photovoltaics

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.

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.

CSP Videos

SunShot Solar CSP (Source: Department of Energy)

New Solar Power Technology: Could Get Power on Cloudy Days (Source: KOAT)

MEPV concepts use microdesign and microfabrication techniques to produce miniaturized solar cells that are released into a solution similar to printing ink. This solution is then placed or ‘printed’ onto a low-cost substrate with embedded contacts and microlenses for focusing sunlight onto the cells. Sandia’s approach uses cells that are tiny in both thickness and lateral dimensions – as small as 14 microns thick and 250 microns wide. The thinness of the cells reduces material costs while enhancing cell performance by improving carrier collection and potentially achieving higher open circuit voltages.

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Webinar July 20: Using Machine Learning and Data Analysis to Improve Customer Acquisition and Marketing in Residential Solar

A free webinar on Thursday, July 20, 2017, from 1–2 p.m. ET, will share exciting new research by Sandia National Laboratories, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and Vanderbilt University on how data analytics, machine learning, [...]

Regional Test Centers Validate the Performance of Solar PV Technologies in Multiple Climates, Annual Report Now Available

Sandia National Laboratories has published the first annual report detailing the progress of the US Department of Energy’s Regional Test Center (RTC) program, which is now working with 20 industry partners and has installed 549kW [...]

Register Now for the Sandia/NREL/SunSpec PV O&M Collaborative In-Person Workgroup Meeting

Sandia National Laboratories, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), The SunSpec Alliance, and Solarplaza invite you to attend an in-person workgroup meeting for a review of industry best practices and a sneak peek into the O&M [...]

Upcoming Webinar: Comparing the Abilities of Energy Storage, PV, and Other Distributed Energy Resources to Provide Grid Services, Monday, March 13, 3:00pm-4:30pm ET

The grid is undergoing a transformation leading to greater utilization of Distributed Energy Resources (DER). DER devices include batteries, PV, and even aggregated hot water heaters or building lighting systems. At the core of this [...]