Solar Research

Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne Testing

On November 24, 2012 the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) began testing of the Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) solar receiver shroud.  Fifteen days of solar testing are scheduled for this testing.  The flux levels on the shroud range between 100 and 500 suns.  The work is sponsored by PWR in cooperation with the Department […]

By |December 19th, 2012|Concentrating Solar Power, EC, Energy, Facilities, National Solar Thermal Test Facility, News, News & Events, Partnership, Renewable Energy, Solar, Solar Newsletter|Comments Off on Pratt Whitney Rocketdyne Testing


By |November 9th, 2012|Comments Off on SunShot

Power Towers for Utilities

Desirable Features of Power Towers for Utilities
Because of their practical energy storage, solar power towers have two features that are particularly desirable for utilities: flexible capacity factors and a high degree of dispatchability.
Power towers can be designed with annual capacity factors up to 60 percent, and as high as 80 percent in summer when the […]

By |September 6th, 2012|Comments Off on Power Towers for Utilities

CSP Software & Tools

By |June 21st, 2012|Comments Off on CSP Software & Tools

Solar Resource Assessment

Solar resource is one of the most important inputs to PV power plant yield and performance evaluations. It is also one of the most difficult quantities to measure and estimate accurately.

Sandia’s Solar Resource Assessment program researches and develops models and algorithms for estimating, predicting, and forecasting the solar resource. Current research efforts at Sandia include

understanding […]

By |April 4th, 2012|Comments Off on Solar Resource Assessment

PV Arc-Fault and Ground Fault Detection and Mitigation Program

By |April 4th, 2012|Comments Off on PV Arc-Fault and Ground Fault Detection and Mitigation Program

Past Market Transformation Activities

Current activates have built upon past efforts, most notably the Solar American Cities (now Communities) program in recent years.
Solar American Cities
Sandia provided technical assistance to U.S. cities, nongovernment organizations, and federal facilities that won awards for our services, which included

facilitating solar site selection and optimization;
providing systems performance projections;
identifying and quantifying the full value of solar […]

By |April 4th, 2012|Comments Off on Past Market Transformation Activities


At the residential and commercial levels, poorly sited projects can result in reduced system performance, among other things; while at the utility scale, where a project is sited may result in increased costs associated with access to transmission, environmental impacts, and other potential conflicts.
Water Availability
Water availability is a critical issue with the potential to significantly […]

By |April 4th, 2012|Comments Off on Siting


Workers who install systems have a critical role in reducing both the upfront and the lifecycle costs of PV systems. Labor costs represent a significant portion of total system costs. And although the effect is not observed in upfront $/watt costs, subpar installation practices increase cost by limiting system performance, effectively increasing the system levelized […]

By |April 4th, 2012|Comments Off on Installation

Permitting, Inspection, and Interconnection

Costs associated with the permitting, inspection, and interconnection processes can be reduced through streamlining and standardizing requirements and application formats across authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) and utilities, as well as training code officials and system-installer employees. Opportunity cost is also important to nonhardware costs as fixes and reworks will be mitigated as a direct result […]

By |April 4th, 2012|Comments Off on Permitting, Inspection, and Interconnection