Sandia Solar Program News - June/July 2016

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Latest Sandia Solar Programs News & Research


The Sandia Solar Programs e-newsletter features highlights, key activities, events, and publications. News is also available on Sandia’s Energy and Climate website. We welcome your feedback. Please e-mail comments and suggestions to We hope you enjoy this valuable resource!

In This Issue

Upcoming Events

Save the Date, Aug. 29-31, for EPRI-Sandia Symposium on Secure and Resilient Microgrids

EPRI Symposium Microgrid banner

Sandia National Laboratories and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) invite you to participate in the first annual Symposium on Secure and Resilient Microgrid Design. This event will focus on several technical challenges in commercial and military microgrids, addressing their design, system analysis, and grid integration. The symposium will cover the state of the art in design and operational toolsincluding design tools such as Sandia’s Microgrid Design Toolkit (MDT)methods, and research for secure and resilient microgrids. We plan to address specific grid integration and control issues when operating in grid-connected and islanded modes. The EPRI-Sandia Symposium on Secure and Resilient Microgrids will be of particular interest to facility, utility, and design engineers and researchers. 

With the rapid and exciting growth in the microgrid industry, professionals face the challenge of selecting appropriate models and toolsets for microgrid analysis, design, and evaluation and applying these models and tools in a disciplined, transparent, and effective manner. This workshop will initiate a technical dialogue and exchange of information about the available models, tools, and practices which can foster and sustain a community of practice for microgrids, and identify lessons learned and research gaps that need to be addressed to improve microgrid designs and evaluations. We will convene at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront. More information available online: View Summary and Preliminary Agenda, and register here on or after July 11. Contact: Abraham Ellis

International Conference on Integration of Renewable and Distributed Energy Resources (IRED): Coming October 2016

IRED logo

Sandia National Laboratories is involved in organizing the 7th International Conference on Integration of Renewable and Distributed Energy Resources (IRED).  This year, the IRED conference will take place in Niagara Falls, Canada, October 24-28, 2016, and will be hosted by EPRI and Natural Resources Canada. This bi-annual event gathers leading practitioners and researchers from around the world to share the latest developments related to integration of renewable energy (RE) and distributed energy resources (DER).  The growth of decentralized generation, liberalized markets, modern power electronics, and the introduction of advanced integrated circuit technologies are leading to a dramatic change in the management and operation of electricity grids worldwide. The weeklong conference will focus on the technical, market, and regulatory issues that challenge the integration of these sources into the grid. Contact: Abraham Ellis

Sandia Co-Organizing 6th PV Performance & Monitoring Workshop, Freiburg, Germany

Fraunhofer PV Workshop logo

The 6th PV Performance and Monitoring Workshop, October 24-25, 2016, hosted by Fraunhofer ISE, the IEA PVPS Task 13, and Sandia National Laboratories, will include presentations in the following main topic areas:

  • Solar Resource Data and Uncertainty
  • Forecasting for PV Grid Integration
  • PV Modeling Applications: Modeling Tool Updates & Moderated Panel Discussion
  • Soiling and Effects on Performance
  • PV Performance Modeling and STC: Spectrum, Angle-of-Incidence and Module Temperature Prediction Accuracy on PV Performance
  • Advanced Modeling: Ray-tracing to Address Bifacial PV Arrays and Shade
  • Field Monitoring and Model Validation

Technical tours will be offered at Fraunhofer ISE and at a PV installation nearby Freiburg. This workshop brings together solar PV professionals and researchers to learn about and discuss new and important technical issues related to PV performance modeling. This stimulating, interactive workshop will provide valuable information for modelers, model developers, and other users of PV performance model results. Please visit the conference website for more information. Abstracts are due by July 8, 2016. The early-bird registration rate is available until August 12, 2016. Sandia Labs facilitates a collaborative group of photovoltaic (PV) professionals (PV Performance Modeling Collaborative or PVPMC) that is interested in improving the accuracy and technical rigor of PV performance models and analyses. Contact:  Josh Stein


Sandia Labs Engineer Recognized by IEEE 

JayJohnson SAPLEpic

Sandia National Laboratories' Jay Johnson recently won the 2016 IEEE Albuquerque Section's "Outstanding Young Engineer" Award for his work in photovoltaic (PV) codes and standards.  Jay is involved in numerous standards development organizations tasked with updating the U.S.’s interconnection and interoperability standards for distributed energy resources (DER), including UL 1741 Supplement A, IEEE 1547.1, and SunSpec Alliance Models.  Jay is also known for his work in PV arc-fault detection and mitigation, DER grid integration and control, and inverter interoperability research. As part of the award, Jay will be presenting his research at University of New Mexico in September 2016. Some of Jay's related research is listed and linked below:

J. Johnson, R. Bründlinger, C. Urrego, and R. Alonso, “Collaborative Development Of Automated Advanced Interoperability Certification Test Protocols For PV Smart Grid Integration,” EU PVSEC, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 22-26 Sept., 2014, SAND2014-17889C.

J. Johnson and B. Fox, “Automating the Sandia Advanced Interoperability Test Protocols,” 40th IEEE PVSC, Denver, CO, 8-13 June, 2014, SAND2014-4863C.

D. Rosewater, J. Johnson, M. Verga, R. Lazzari, C. Messner, R. Bründlinger, K. Johannes, J. Hashimoto, and K. Otani, International Development of Energy Storage Interoperability Test Protocols for Renewable Energy Integration, EU PVSEC, Hamburg, Germany, 14-18 Sept, 2015.

Research Updates

Sandia Labs’ Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Lab (PSEL) Marks FY15 Accomplishments & Adds New Capabilities in 2016

Bruce with light soak chamber

Sandia National Laboratories completed a number of enhancements and expansions to its Photovoltaic Systems Evaluation Laboratory (PSEL) facility in fiscal year 2015 (FY15) to expand indoor PV module characterization capabilities at PSEL and upgrade the outdoor laboratory. A new Atonometrics Light Soaking Chamber has just joined PSEL’s existing module flash tester and electroluminescence chamber, giving PSEL the ability to simulate outdoor solar exposure in a continuous, controlled indoor environment. This capability will be used to study metastable electrical performance in thin-film PV modules and early degradation phenomenon in crystalline silicon PV modules. Solar cell and optical characterization equipment is now consolidated in PSEL’s new, expanded indoor laboratory space. (Shown at left, Bruce King, PSEL technical lead, in front of the newly installed light soaking chamber.)

Home to the New Mexico Regional Test Center (RTC), PSEL’s outdoor laboratory has also received many equipment upgrades built on recent site upgrades. For example, common PV racking has been installed to accommodate up to 100 kW of new PV installations. Dubbed the Fastrack, the new installation was designed to accept PV modules of all common form factors to enable rapid deployment of systems from new RTC partners. In addition, general racking space totaling 80 kW has been installed to support PSEL’s R&D projects in bifacial and CIGS module technologies. With the rapid growth in PV installations, PSEL has become a net exporter of electricity and electrical grid-tie capacity has become strained. To address this, PSEL is partnering with Sandia’s own facilities department to install new, dedicated grid-tie capacity to enable upwards of 500 kW of additional PV. Contact: Bruce King

PSEL upgrades
Light soaking chamber installed at Sandia’s PSEL (center); custom module-scale EL chamber (background); module flash tester (foreground).

Part of a Smart Grid Research Network, Sandia Labs Participates in CEM7

SIRFN logo

Sandia National Laboratories participates in the Smart Grid International Research Facility Network (SIRFN), a coordinated network of smart grid research and test facilities working on selected projects around the globe. SIRFN’s collaborative test and evaluation capabilities can be leveraged internationally to improve the design and implementation of smart grids. Interoperability test protocols are used to verify electrical behavior and communications functionality of distributed energy resources. SIRFN researchers, representing a collaboration between RSE (Italy’s Ricerca sul Sistema Energetico), Austrian Institute of Technology, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) Fukushima Renewable Energy Institute (FREA), and Sandia National Laboratories, presented a new interoperability testing protocol for energy storage systems at the most recent Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) in San Francisco, California. The related Distributed Energy Resource Interoperability Testing (DERIT) fact sheet is now available. Contact: Jay Johnson

Sandia Labs Contributes to Solar Industry Innovation: A Partnership Story

NIST Stratasense
NIST installed 96 Stratasense module level IV sweep units on its 271kW mono-Si system

Hearing of a current-voltage (IV) sweep (or tracing) product made by a small start-up company, Sandia contacted Stratasense to discuss its compact product that had three features for studying photovoltaic (PV) performance: (1) it was rated for mounting outdoors at the PV module, (2) it was self-powered, and (3) it wirelessly reported the IV sweep data. Sandia and Stratasense subsequently entered into a collaborative partnership to develop the additional capability of in situ module IV tracing, something that no other industry products offered. Stratasense developed additional product capabilities, tested a module-level prototype, and delivered all units after removing each module from a functioning string, performing an IV sweep, and returning the module to the functioning string, until 16 modules had been IV swept. Sandia Labs funded the design development and provided expert testing and feedback to refine the initial design, and published its collaborative research, In-Situ Module-Level I-V Tracers for Novel PV Monitoring.

More recently, Sandia was contacted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) about commercial off-the-shelf wireless PV string monitoring options for their previously installed PV arrays. Sandia introduced NIST to the new in-situ capability which would meet the need for NIST to easily retro-fit its PV with an increased level of monitoring. NIST ordered 96 Stratasense units for their 271kW monocrystalline silicon array. The first 24 units were installed in January 2016; the Stratasense system is now fully deployed and functioning.

Sandia also contracted with Pordis, LLC, to develop a string level, in-situ, IV sweep system in late 2014. A functioning 8-string unit is currently in operation. Sandia researchers have recently published work that used this Pordis system in Automatic Fault Classification of Photovoltaic Strings Based on an In Situ IV Characterization System and a Gaussian Process Algorithm. No other industry products offer in situ string IV tracing; existing IV string level sweep instruments are far more costly than those developed by Stratasense and Pordis.

Achieving a “pennies per watt” string monitoring system will encourage utility and commercial scale PV installations to increase PV monitoring, thereby improving their operations and maintenance (O&M) activities. Sandia-developed automated analysis of in situ string level data may be the final piece for improved and affordable utility and commercial scale PV O&M.

This work is national laboratory/industry partnership at its best. Contact: Craig Carmignani

Sandia Labs Researchers Present 20 Papers at PVSC

Sandia National Laboratories was well represented that the 43rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialist Conference in Portland, OR, in June 2016. Researchers presented work in the following areas: Power Electronics and Grid Integration, Solar Resource for PV and Forecasting, PV Modules, Manufacturing, Systems and Applications, PV and System Reliability, Characterization Methods, and Space and Specialty Technologies. See below for links to these and other recent publications. 

Recent Publications

R. Byrne, R. Elliott, F. Wilches-Bernal, R. Concepcion, J. Neely, O. Lavrova, and J. Quiroz, Small Signal Stability of the Western North American Power Grid with High Penetrations of Renewable Generation, SAND2016-5491CA.

Driesse, W. Zaaiman, D. Riley, N. Taylor, and J. Stein, Investigation of Pyranometer and Photodiode Calibrations under Different Conditions

J. Flicker, G. TamizhMani, M. Moorthy, R. Thiagarajan, and R. Ayyanar, Accelerated Lifetime Testing of Module Level Power Electronics for Long-Term Reliability

S. Gonzalez, J. Johnson, M. J. Reno, and T. Zgonena, “Small Commercial Inverter Laboratory Evaluations of UL 1741 SA Grid-Support Function Response Times,” IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), 2016. SAND2016-5329C

N. G. Guay, C. W. Hansen, C. D. Robinson, and B. H. King, Improving Module Temperature Measurements using Averaging Resistive Temperature Devices, SAND2016-0670

C. W. Hansen, C. Deline, S. MacAlpine, B. Marion, A. Asgharzadeh, F. Toor, and  J. S. Stein, Analysis of Irradiance Models for Bifacial PV Modules, SAND2016-0803C

J. Johnson, J. Neely, J. Delhotal, and M. Lave, Photovoltaic Frequency-Watt Curve Design for Fast Contingency Reserves, SAND2016-5253C

C. B. Jones, M. Martinez-Ramon, B. H. King, C. Carmignani, and J. Stein, Wondering what to blame? Turn PV performance assessments into maintenance action items through the deployment of learning algorithms embedded in a Raspberry Pi device, SAND2016-0794C

C. B. Jones, R. Smith, C. Carmignani, J. S. Stein, O. Lavrova, M. Martinez-Ramon, and C. Robinson, Automatic Fault Classification of Photovoltaic Strings Based on an In-Situ IV Characterization System and a Gaussian Process AlgorithmSAND2016-5689

B. H. King, C. W. Hansen, D. Riley, C. D. Robinson, and L. Pratt, Outdoor Test and Analysis Procedures for Generating Coefficients for the Sandia Array Performance Model,, SAND2016-5287C

G. T. Klise, R. Hill, A. Walker, A. Dobos, and J. Freeman, PV System “Availability” as a Reliability Metric – Improving Standards, Contract Language and Performance Models

K. A. Klise and J. S. Stein Automated Performance Monitoring for PV Systems using Pecos,, SAND2016-0628A

M. Lave and C. Hansen, Using a Few Spectral Wavelengths to Predict Isc, SAND2016-4775

M. Lave, M. J. Reno, and R. J. Broderick, “Characterizing Local High-Frequency Solar Variability and its Impact to Distribution Studies,” Solar Energy, Vol 118, 2015. SAND2014-16368J

M. Lave, J. E. Quiroz, M. J. Reno, and R. J. Broderick, “High Temporal Resolution Load Variability Compared to PV Variability,” IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), 2016. SAND2016-0596A

M. Lave and  A. Weekley, Comparison of High-Frequency Solar Irradiance: Ground Measured vs. Satellite-DerivedSAND2016-5481C

M. Lave and A. Ellis, Comparison of Solar and Wind Power Generation Impact on Net Load across a Utility Balancing Area, SAND2016-5084C

B. P. Lockridge, O. Lavrova, and W. B. Hobbs, Comparison of Electroluminescence Image Capture Methods

R. Mahto, P. Zarkesh-Ha, O. Lavrova, MOSFET-Based Modeling and Simulation of Photovoltaics Module

R. Mahto, P. Zarkesh-Ha, O. Lavrova, Reconfigurable Photovoltaic Integrated with CMOS for a Fault Tolerant System

M. Mazumder, M. Horenstein, A. Sayyah, J. Stark, A. Bernard, S. Garner, J. Yellowhair, D. Crowell, C. Coutinho, and R. Eriksen, Mitigation of Dust Impacts on Solar Collectors by Water-Free Cleaning with Transparent Electrodynamic Films: Progress and Challenges

B. Palmintier, R. Broderick, B. Mather, M. Coddington, K. Baker, F. Ding, M. Reno, M. Lave, and A. Bharatkumar, "On the Path to SunShot: Emerging Issues and Challenges in Integrating Solar with the Distribution System," National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL/TP-5D00-65331, 2016. SAND2016-2524R

J. Peppanen, M. J. Reno, R. J. Broderick, and S. Grijalva, "Secondary Circuit Model Generation Using Limited PV Measurements and Parameter Estimation," IEEE PES General Meeting, 2016. SAND2015-10000C

J.E. Quiroz, J.S. Stein, C.K. Carmignani, and K. Gillispie, “In-Situ Module-Level I-V Tracers for Novel PV Monitoring,” IEEE Photovoltaics Specialists Conference, June 2015, SAND 2015-47622

M. J. Reno, M. Lave, J. E. Quiroz, and R. J. Broderick, “PV Ramp Rate Smoothing Using Energy Storage to Mitigate Increased Voltage Regulator Tapping,” IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), 2016. SAND2016-5509C

M. J. Reno and R. J. Broderick, “Statistical Analysis of Feeder and Locational PV Hosting Capacity for 216 Feeders,” IEEE PES General Meeting, 2016. SAND2015-9712C

E. Riley, M. Lave, E. Wu, J. Dise, T. Tirumali, J. Bosch, and C. Tamineedi, On the Ability of Ground Based Global Horizontal Irradiance Measurements to Reduce Error in Satellite Derived Plane of Array Irradiance data for Fixed Tilt Photovoltaic Power Plants

M. E. Ropp, D. D. Schutz, J. Neely, and S. Gonzalez, Effect of Grid Support Functions and VRT/FRT Capability on Autonomous Anti-Islanding Schemes in Photovoltaic Converters, SAND2016-6009C

M. Rylander, M. J. Reno, J. E. Quiroz, F. Ding, H. Li, R. J. Broderick, B. Mather, and J. Smith, “Methods to Determine Recommended Feeder-Wide Advanced Inverter Settings for Improving Distribution Performance,” IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), 2016. SAND2016-4864C

J. Seuss, M. J. Reno, R. J. Broderick, and S. Grijalva, "Analysis of PV Advanced Inverter Functions and Setpoints under Time Series Simulation," Sandia National Laboratories, SAND2016-4856, 2016. SAND2016-4856

J. Seuss, M. J. Reno, M. Lave, R. J. Broderick, and S. Grijalva, “Advanced Inverter Controls to Dispatch Distributed PV Systems,” IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), 2016. SAND2016-4865C

R. Singh, E. Brambila, J. Watts, D. Preciado, C. Robinson, B. King, and N. Jacobson, Analyses of Measurement Parameters for Laboratory Characterization of the Operating Temperature Coefficients of CI(G)S PV Modules

J. S. Stein, W. F. Holmgren, J. Forbess, and C. W. Hansen, PVLIB: Open Source Photovoltaic Performance Modeling Functions for Matlab and Python, SAND2016-2162

G. TamizhMani, B. King, A. Venkatesan, C. Deline, A. Pavgi, and S. Tatapudi, Regional Soiling Stations for PV: Soling Loss Analysis

H. Zhu, Z. Wang, S. McConnell, R. S. Balog, and J. Johnson, High Fidelity “Replay” Arc Fault Detection Testbed

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