U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Regional Test Centers for Solar Technologies
At the Regional Test Centers (RTCs) throughout the United States, DOE provides photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) validation testing and systems monitoring for businesses and other industry stakeholders. The primary mission of the RTCs is to develop standards and guidelines for validating the performance and operation of PV modules and systems. The RTCs also serve as test beds for large-scale systems and provide independent validation of PV performance and reliability.
By establishing the technical basis for bankability, the RTCs serve to increase investor confidence in PV technologies. These efforts support the SunShot Initiative's goal to increase the penetration of large-scale solar energy systems to enable solar-generated power to account for 15% to 18% of America's electricity generation by 2030.
RTCs provide the land, grid integration, and large-scale testing and data monitoring necessary to:
- Validate the performance of PV systems
- Verify and validate models used to predict performance
- Collect detailed operations and maintenance data
- Assess PV module quality, degradation rates, and system reliability issues
- Investigate the role of various environmental factors on the reliability, durability, and safety of PV technologies.
Recipients of technical assistance through the RTCs can have identical PV installations assessed at each of the regional sites:
- Solar Technology Acceleration Center (SolarTAC), near Denver, Colorado: managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, this RTC provides testing within a steppe climate.
- National Solar Thermal Test Facility, Albuquerque, New Mexico: managed by Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), this RTC provides testing within a hot-dry climate.
- Nevada Regional Test Center, Las Vegas, Nevada: led by SNL, the Las Vegas Valley Water District, and the University of Nevada's Center for Energy Research, this RTC will accommodate as many as eight installations of PV systems.
- University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida: managed by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), this RTC provides testing within a hot-humid climate.
- Vermont Regional Test Center, Williston, Vermont: located on IBM property, this RTC will focus on performance data and support collaborative research related to the integration of PV technologies into Vermont's statewide electrical grid.
Learn more about the Regional Test Centers as additional RTCs develop across the country.