Energy and Climate

Photovoltaics
(PV)

Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar light into electricity. Sandia photovoltaic work is centered on developing cost-effective, reliable photovoltaic energy systems produced by US industry and used worldwide.
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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.

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Sunshine to Petrol
(S2P)

Sunshine to Petrol Solar Furnace

The Sunshine to Petrol (S2P) program seeks to create a sustainable liquid fuels solution that can replace petrolium-based fuels on a large scale. Work currently centers on the production of synthetic fuels from carbon dioxide using solar energy.
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Photovoltaics

On average, about one and a half hours of the sunlight that falls on Earth could supply humanity with enough energy to meet all the world’s needs for an entire year. Harnessing even a fraction of this energy could supply humanity with abundant energy to live, move about, and thrive industrially and economically well into the foreseeable future. Sandia is working hard to help make this dream a reality.

Typically, solar energy is harnessed in one of two ways: photovoltaics (PV) use specially selected and fabricated materials that use the sun’s energy to liberate bound electrons in the material which are then captured and channeled to produce electric current—on the other hand, concentrating solar power (CSP) uses mirrors or lenses to focus a broad field of solar energy onto a smaller receiver. The concentrated thermal energy is then used to drive some form of heat engine that produces either electricity or mechanical work.

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP)

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.

Sunshine to Petrol (S2P)

Sunshine to Petrol Solar Furnace

Sandia’s Sunshine to Petrol (S2P) team seeks to address the critical national and global issues of growing energy consumption amid increased vulnerability and price volatility of petroleum supplies and climate change risks. The transportation and industrial sectors in the United States are deeply dependent on petroleum, a dominant energy source for these sectors and a driver of greenhouse gas emissions. An alternative energy carrier coupled to a sustainable energy source that can be used within existing infrastructure, distribution, and traditional petroleum-based combustion systems is necessary to assure national security, enhance U.S. economic competitiveness, demonstrate leadership in mitigating the risks of climate change, and promote a smooth transition to an energy-secure and diversified transportation mix.

Sandians Win ‘Best Paper’ Award at Photovoltaic Conference in JapanA research team that included Sandians Clifford Hansen and Joshua Stein (in Sandia’s Photovoltaic & Distributed Systems Integration Dept.) and Katherine Klise (in Sandia’s Geotechnology and Engineering Dept.) received a Best Paper Award for their work “Photovoltaic System Model Calibration Using Monitored System Data,” presented at the 6th World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion (WCPEC) […]
Sandia Research on PV Arc-Fault Detection Submitted for US PatentSandia National Laboratories/Tigo Energy researchers recently submitted an application for a US patent related to research on arc-fault detection and circuit interruption in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. Sandia’s patent-pending methods, filed as Identifying an Arc-Fault Type in Photovoltaic Arrays, allow AFCIs to distinguish between series and parallel faults. The 2011 National Electrical Code® requires PV […]
PV Plant Performance Technical Briefing Published in PV Power TechThe state of the art in PV system monitoring is relatively simplistic, relying either on comparisons of outputs between various parts of the system (e.g., inverters) or on an evaluation of a performance metric that normalizes output to available irradiance and other environmental conditions. However, neither of these methods is very effective in discovering the source […]
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