Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Laboratory (PSEL)

Sandia’s Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Laboratory, or PSEL, provides expertise and test support within several facilities and outdoor sites for evaluating PV and other distributed energy technologies. It includes the following capabilities:

  • PV systems evaluations and optimization
  • Field testing of arrays and systems in collaboration with system integrators
  • Performance testing for modules, arrays, power inverters, charge controllers, and batteries
  • Diagnosis of module reliability issues with manufacturing consultation
  • Complete performance characterization of PV cells and photo sensors
  • Calibration of PV reference cells, reference modules, and solar instruments
  • Performance measurements on multiple, interacting distributed energy sources
  • On-site education and training on the attributes and limitations of photovoltaic and other distributed energy systems

PSEL conducts important research in solar technology, performance, and design to support $600 million a year in DOE-funded research. Although this facility has room for up to 400 kW of additional PV, it is currently only able to support 170 kW…until now. Sandia’s Facilities Management and Operations Center has funded a project to bring PSEL up to its full capacity. With this new funding, a 500 kVA transformer will be built at PSEL to support the additional kW needed. Within the next 1-3 years, Sandia will be working on increasing solar energy collected and generated on-site—allowing Sandia to perform more solar R&D. This investment in solar energy emphasizes Sandia’s commitment toward sustaining and enhancing our nation’s energy infrastructure.

Bruce King