Energy and Climate

Sandia’s research in solar photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) helps advance the mission of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative to decrease total cost of solar energy systems by 75% by 2020 and make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity generation without subsidies.

Sandia researchers address technical and market barriers to SunShot goals of high solar energy penetration by evaluating and improving the performance, reliability, and cost effectiveness of solar systems, materials, and balance of systems (BOS). Sandia also helps enable high levels of solar penetration on the electricity grid through extensive research in distribution systems integration.

Sandia partners with industry and other solar stakeholders to ensure thorough and balanced research. To learn more about working with us, visit the lab’s Partnerships page.

Photovoltaics & Distributed Systems Integration Research

  • Reducing Soft Costs of Rooftop Solar Installations Attributed to Structural Considerations
  • Mitigating Industry-Wide Risks through Data Collection and Assessment
  • Development of Design Templates and Standardized Suitability Criteria to Expedite Permitting for Solar Power Plants
  • Increasing Prediction Accuracy and Confidence in PV System Performance
  • Advancing Solar Integration on Transmission Systems
  • Residential and Commercial Real Estate and PV Energy Systems: Providing Credible Estimates of Premiums to Drive Demand and Lower BOS Costs
  • Accelerating Cost-Effective Deployment of Solar Generation on the Distribution Grid
  • Accelerating Development of Advanced Inverters
  • Advanced Solar Resource Modeling and Analysis
  • Advanced Measurement and Analysis of PV Derate Factors
  • Characterizing Emerging Photovoltaic Technologies
  • Prognostics and Health Management

Concentrating Solar Power

  • Demonstration of Key Components to Support Thermal Storage for Dish Stirling Systems
  • High-Temperature Solar Selective Coating Development for Power Tower Receivers
  • National Solar Thermal Test Facility Maintenance and Development

SunShot News

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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