Solar Energy 2019-01-30T20:45:01+00:00
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.


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)

View All Publications

2019 PV Systems Symposium begins May 14th

The 2019 PV Systems Symposium will take place Tuesday, May 14, 2019 through Thursday, May 16, 2019, at the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town in Albuquerque, NM. The three-day workshop will explore the technical challenges [...]

It’s official: pvlib-python designated a NumFOCUS affiliated project

pvlib-python is officially a NumFOCUS affiliated project. The non-profit organization NumFOCUS promotes sustainable, high-quality, open source code for reproducible scientific research. NumFOCUS recently bestowed the mark of quality on pvlib-python, placing the software in heady [...]

MOU launches collaboration to study photovoltaic performance and reliability worldwide

By Kelly Sullivan An international community of research institutions, led by Sandia National Laboratories and committed to sharing high-fidelity data to advance photovoltaic (PV) research and expand solar markets, will celebrate the signing of its [...]

Advanced CSP Collector Testing to take place at National Solar Thermal Test Facility

Also known as collectors, heliostats are large arrays of mirrors which collect and focus sunlight. In a concentrating solar power plant, the collectors focus sunlight on a centralized receiver. The receiver captures the heat, [...]