Part of the Renewable and Distributed Energy Systems Integration (RDSI) program, the Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory (DETL) is a multipurpose research facility designed to integrate emerging energy technologies into new and existing electricity infrastructure to accommodate the nation’s increasing demand for clean, secure and reliable energy.
Researchers at the DETL perform advanced research on generation, storage and load management technologies at component through system levels. DETL staff examine advanced materials, controls and communications to enable safe and resilient distributed and renewable power systems infrastructure. Because the lab is highly configurable, it allows researchers to evaluate energy resources and controllers such as inverters and other power electronics equipment under a wide range of conditions including irradiance variability, AC/DC protection schemes, high and low temperatures, power levels and voltage and frequency regulation functionality in both grid-connected and microgrid configurations.
The DETL provides power electronics testing capabilities including island and campus grids, remote operations, and scaled portions of utility feeders and the transmission infrastructure. DETL includes a 480V, 3-phase microgrid, with interconnections to the utility grid and to various distributed energy resources including PV inverters, microturbines, fuel cells, reciprocating engine-generators, and electrical energy storage systems.
DETL researchers provide expertise and test support to perform the following functions:
- Grid-connected performance evaluations (e.g., efficiency, distortion, power factor, response to abnormal grid conditions)
- Off-grid (stand-alone) performance evaluations (e.g., transient response, compatibility with various load types, voltage and frequency regulations)
- Specialized tests (e.g., radio-frequency emissions, “non-islanding inverter,” interactions of multiple sources on a common microgrid, surge tolerance)
- Hosting capacity research and development
- DER and power systems performance analysis
- Microgrid and adaptive protection systems
- Hardware and standards compliance and development
- Partnerships with the solar PV industry
- Grid cybersecurity