New California Solar Testing Labs Open

PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) is opening two new testing facilities in Berkeley and Davis, California which the company claims will offer the industry’s  most advanced and accurate PV performance and reliability evaluations to date. The exclusive, long-term deal with Photovoltaics for Utility Scale Applications (PV-USA) opens up five of the site’s 90 acres for PVEL’s independent PV measurement operations. In addition to the new space at PV-USA’s solar farm, PVEL also scored laboratory and office space right next to 11,000 square feet of outdoor yard space formerly occupied by the iconic Flint Ink factory in Berekely, California.

The new testing space in Davis is said to have deep roots in the solar energy industry’s history. In 1986, PG&E opened the the facility to test out the impact that high penetration solar would have on the electric grid. Later on, the California Energy Commission’s PTC (PV-USA Test Conditions) standards were born at the site. The PTC is now considered the most reliable standard of testing for PV technology because its test conditions best reflect real world scenarios.

PVUSA

Image via DavisWiki

“In its roughly 25-year history, the PV-USA site has seen a wide variety of PV technologies, including concentrators, thin-film, crystalline silicon, and more,” said Matt Cheney, CEO and Managing Director of CleanPath Ventures, which owns and operates PV-USA. “PVEL’s test center is the next chapter of this plant’s contribution to the industry. The PVEL PV-USA test center will generate the invaluable independent data necessary for companies developing and deploying the latest solar technologies.”

The news shines brightly in the faces of some skeptics who, as far back as the year 2000, speculated that PV-USA was going to fold as the company closed two other facilities in the Northern California effort. Using the new facilities, PVEL intends to continue advancing their testing procedures so that they can continue providing valuable data to PV manufacturers.