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

Brookhaven National Laboratory is developing a new Northeast Solar Energy Research Center (NSERC) on its campus that will serve as a solar energy research and test facility for the solar industry. The NSERC will include laboratories for standardized testing in accordance with industry standards, along with a solar PV research array for field testing existing or innovative new technologies under actual northeastern weather conditions.

The NSERC will also include access to unique high-resolution data sets from the 32MW Long Island Solar Farm located at Brookhaven. Our vision is to provide 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: Robert Lofaro, Manager, Energy Systems Division, (631) 344-7191

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
  • Load simulator to enable disconnecting from the BNL system for test purposes

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)

Solar Energy Research Labs

  • Standardized testing of solar system components
  • Solar Resource Simulators, Load simulators
  • Environmental chambers –(duplicate environmental conditions for electronics installed on modules)
  • Failure Analyses – UL and IEC Test Conditions for Modules and Inverters Environmental Research Lab
  • Environmental, health and safety aspects of photovoltaic systems
  • Life-cycle analyses

Meteorological Services Lab

  • On site Met services
  • Instrument repair and calibration

Business Model

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

NSERC will host sponsored Research
DOE 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.