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NSERC, a multi-purpose research facility on the Brookhaven campus

Brookhaven National Laboratory developed the Northeast Solar Energy Research Center (NSERC) on its campus to serve as a solar energy research and test facility for the solar industry. The NSERC includes a solar PV research array for field testing existing or innovative new technologies under actual northeastern weather conditions and is fully instrumented to provide high resolution data for research purposes.

The NSERC includes access to unique high-resolution data sets from the 32MW Long Island Solar Farm located at Brookhaven. NSERC is a facility that is accessible to the industry with capabilities to address the major challenges facing the deployment and integration of sustainable solar energy resources, particularly in the northeastern United States, as a means of ensuring the Nation’s future energy security.
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NSERC Mission

Support the expansion of solar power in the Northeast by providing highquality data, field-testing, analyses, and solar energy expertise to address technical, economic, environmental, and policy issues facing solar power deployment in northeastern climates.

Overarching Research themes

  • Grid integration of solar energy resources
  • Research and developmental testing of new solar system technologies, including new inverter control technologies, micro-inverters, and other technologies
  • Characterization and management of solar energy variability for plants in the Northeast
  • Solar resource measurement and forecasting
  • Test bed for Smart Grid enabling technologies, including smart grid sensors and micro-grid control schemes

Research Areas

  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Energy Storage
  • Reliability and Degradation
  • Grid Integration
  • Smart Inverter
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Smart Grid
  • Solar forecasting
  • Field Testing

Contact: Meng Yue, Energy Systems DivisionRenewables and Grid Modernization Group Leader, (631) 344-7140

Solar PV Array Size & Type

  • ~1.0 MW total – Area 1 sized for testing utility-scale inverters
  • System voltage level of 1,000V
  • Connected to BNL electrical distribution system
  • Capability to test multiple panel technologies with crystalline silicon PVmodules making up the bulk of the array
  • Capability to re-configure the array into multiple, small (~65kw) arrays for different testing scenarios, as needed
  • Fixed tilt for bulk of the array with capability to install some modules on trackers for comparative tests
  • Re-configurable to simulate different operating scenarios
  • Open racks for comparison tests of other PV technologies

BOP Equipment

  • Capability for running macro and micro inverters
  • Standard inverters available for module testing
  • Capability to incorporate storage technologies

Data Acquisition Lab

  • Array data collection, QA/QC, archive

Research Instrumentation

  • Meteorological base station with precision instruments adjacent to the array
  • Solar resource instrumentation at multiple locations within the array
  • Power quality instrumentation at inverters and grid interconnection
  • String-level current and voltage
  • High Sample Rates –1 sec data (512 samples per cycle for PQ data)

Meteorological Services Lab

  • On site Met services
  • Instrument repair and calibration

Business Model

NSERC is available to industry
The facility is owned by DOE, operated by BNL's contractor, Brookhaven Science Associates, and is open to industry via pre-arranged access agreements. No UL Certification or interconnect permits required.

NSERC hosts sponsored research
DOE or other sponsored research can be conducted via proposals by Brookhaven Science Associates. Collaborative sponsored research can occur via Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) and collaborative research via joint proposals.

Standardized agreements
Standardized Agreements will address data sharing and intellectual property issues.

Sample Projects at NSERC

NYSERDA Project – “Grid Impacts of Utility-Scale Solar PV Systems Installed at both Sub-transmission and Distribution Levels Simultaneously”: This project examined the grid impacts of utility-scale (≥ 1MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) systems when they are installed on both the transmission/ sub-transmission and distribution systems simultaneously. NSERC performance data was used for this study.

DOE/EERE Project – “Asynchronous Distributed and Adaptive Parameter Tuning”: To facilitate the high penetration of renewable generation into bulk power systems, an ADAPT framework is developed for hybrid PV plants. The technology developed will enable grid services from curtailable PV and energy storage systems via grid-forming inverters. The new technology will be field tested at NSERC.