Photovoltaic Collaborative to Advance Multi-climate Performance and Energy Research (PV CAMPER)

POA pyranometer and PV-modules at Fraunhofer CSP in Halle, Germany.

Our Mission Statement: To create a global technical platform that enables pioneering photovoltaic research, validates the performance of emerging technologies in specific climates and helps accelerate the world’s transition to a solar-intensive economy.

Each member institution of the Photovoltaic Collaborative to Advance Multi-Climate Performance Energy Research (PV CAMPER) operates one or more field laboratories and is actively engaged in PV performance and reliability research. To facilitate collaboration and ensure data quality across all sites, PV CAMPER representatives have agreed to deploy similar instrumentation, methods of data collection, and O&M protocols. The result is a global network of outdoor laboratories that can be leveraged for research investigations ranging from experimentation to simulation and validation studies.

Founding Members

  • Brazil: Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC)
    Ricardo Rüther
  • Great Britain: Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology
    Tom Betts
  • Germany: Anhalt University of Applied Sciences
    Sebastian Dittmann
  • Germany: Fraunhofer Center for Silicon Photovoltaics (CSP)
    Ralph Gottschalg
  • Morocco: Institut de Recherche Energie Solaire et Energie Nouvelle (IRESEN)
    Ahmed Benlarabi
  • Qater: Qatar Environment & Energy Research Institute
    Ben Figgis
  • Singapore: Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS)
    Thomas Reindl
  • South Korea: Yeungnam University
    Soo-Young Oh
  • South Korea: Korean Institute for Energy Research (KIER)
    Kyungsoo Kim
  • South Korea: Korea Testing Laboratory (KTL)
    Jun-Hong Choi
  • USA: Sandia National Laboratories
    Laurie Burnham

Leadership Team

  • Chair – Ralph Gottschalg, Fraunhofer Centre for Silikon Photovoltaics
  • Vice-Chair – Laurie Burnham, Sandia National Laboratories
  • Director of Research – Sebastian Dittmann, Anhalt University for Applied Sciences
  • Director of External Relations – Aline Kirsten Vidal de Oliveira, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

Read the PV CAMPER Annual Report to learn more.

Read the latest PV CAMPER Press Release!

PV CAMPER is an expandable organization and welcomes new members willing to meet the organization’s high standards for data quality and availability. To that end, each member institution must maintain an outdoor field laboratory with the following technical capabilities:

  • Grid-tied crystalline-silicon reference system for crosssite data analysis and to establish a baseline against which other technologies can be compared;
  • High-accuracy meteorological instrumentation to measure multiple irradiance levels (DNI, GHI, DHI, POA and albedo), precipitation, relative humidity, ambient air temperature and wind-speed and direction);
  • Soiling measurement station;
  • High-resolution DC data-monitoring instrumentation to measure PV system performance;
  • High-frequency data acquisition systems for both meteorological and PV performance data;
  • Module characterization capabilities that meet IEC standards (solar simulator and EL imaging capabilities)
  • PV CAMPER members must sign a Memorandum-of-Understanding and agree to:

  • Transmit data daily to a cloud database, where it can be accessed by members of the collaborative;
  • Adopt PV CAMPER baseline characterization and O&M protocols;
  • Participate in PV CAMPER collaborative R&D;
  • Attend regular conference calls and at least one annual face-to face meeting.
  • L. Burnham, R. Gottschalg, A. Kirsten, S. Dittmann, B. Figgis, M. Braga, S. Oh, “PV CAMPER Panel Session.” PVSEC-30, Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 10, 2020.

    Burnham, Laurie, “Supporting the Global Growth of PV: an International Collaborative to Improve Data Quality, Minimize Measurement Uncertainties and Share Best Practices.” 8th Solar Energy Congress of Brazil, Oct. 30, 2020.

    Braga, M., K. A. de Oliveira, L. Burnham, S. Dittmann, T. Betts, C. D. Rodriguez-Gallegos, T. Reindl, R. Ruther,” Over-irradiance events: preliminary results from a global study.” IEEE 47th PVSC, virtual meeting, June 15-Aug. 21, 2020: 7pp.

    Stark, C. and L. Burnham, “Photovoltaic Collaborative to Advance Multi-climate Performance and Energy Research (PV CAMPER): A Global Cross-Climate Platform for High-Quality Data-Sharing.” Poster presented at NREL PV Reliability Workshop, Denver, CO, Feb. 2020.

    Burnham, L., S. DIttmann, R. Gottschalg, A. Benlarabi, B. Figgis, T. Reindl, S. Oh, K. Kim, J. Choi, R. Ruther, C. Fell. “Photovoltaic Collaborative to Advance Multi-climate Energy and Performance Research (PV CAMPER).” Poster presented at the 36th EUPVSEC Conference, Marseille, France, Sept., 2019.

    Dittmann, S., H. Sanchez, L. Burnham, R. Gottschalg, S. Oh, A. Benlarabi, B. Figgis, A. Abdallah, C. Rodriguez, C., R. Ruther, C. Fell. Analysis of albedo measurements (plane-of-array and horizontal) at multiple sites worldwide. Proceedings of the 36th EUPVSEC Conference, Marseille, France, Sept., 2019: 188-1390.

    de Oliveira, et al. Comparative Analysis of Module Temperature Measurements and Estimation Methods for Various Climate Zones Across the Globe. Proceedings of the 47th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC 47), June 15- Aug. 21, 2020, Virtual Meeting.

    Laurie Burnham• Sandia National Laboratories
    P.O. Box 5800, MS 0951 • Albuquerque, NM 87185-0951 USA
    lburnha@sandia.gov •+01 505.845.7354

    Sebastian Dittmann• Anhalt University of Applied Sciences
    Bernburger Str. 55 • 06366 Köthen, Germany
    Sebastian.dittmann@hs-anhalt.de • + 49 3496.67.2354

    Soo-Young Oh• Yeungnam University
    280 Dae-hak-ro, Gyeongsan • Gyeongbuk, 38541, Korea
    syoh@yu.ac.kr •+82 10.2800.81

    Technical Objectives

    The PV CAMPER database is now operational.

    Accelerating solar capacity worldwide requires confidence in:

    1) the cross-climate performance of emergent, high-efficiency PV technologies
    2) the accuracy of irradiance and other sensor measurements needed for yield comparison and simulations and
    3) identification of local environmental contributors to long-term reliability.

    To help meet these challenges, PV CAMPER aims to:

    • Foster collaborative R&D in the areas of PV performance validation and reliability;
    • Provide a global platform for evaluating emerging, high-efficiency PV technologies, and for identifying and quantifying the factors that contribute most to climate specific efficiencies;
    • Generate a set of best practices with respect to data collection; quantify and reduce measurement uncertainties, and increase the accuracy and global applicability of performance models; and
    • Develop a technical basis for matching new technologies, including novel cell and module types, to their operating environments (spectral sensitivities, irradiance characteristics, temperature range, etc.)
    Photovoltaic (PV) field laboratory at the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI).

    Value to the Global Photovoltaics Community

    PV CAMPER’s network of research institutions reflects a common goal: the desire to foster and grow a community that can help transition the world to a more solar-intensive future. Collectively, this organization offers:

    • Network of field sites enables cross-climate research and analysis
      • Common instrumentation
      • Focus on high-fidelity data
      • Onsite technical support
    • Centralized database
    • Collaborative approach to complex, global challenges
      • Measurement and instrumentation uncertainty
      • Design optimization
      • Climate-induced risks
      • Field performance of emerging technologies
      • Our Regional Test Centers, such as the one under development in Michigan, include a multi-climate focus on data collection.
    • PV CAMPER as a Resource/Tool Box to:
      • Facilitate information-sharing and best practices to increase data fidelity
      • Enable access to a repository of global knowledge and expertise
      • Provide network for educational exchanges (PhD programs; visiting scholars, internships)
      • Disseminate data and performance results

    Our Regional Test Centers, such as the one under development in Michigan, include a multi-climate focus on data collection.
    Irradiance sensors in Florianopolis, Brazil.