AzRISE/TEP Test Yard
Arizona Research Initiative for Solar Energy (AzRISE): Testing and Evaluation of Solar Energy and Grid Devices
The solar test yard, a research facility shared between AzRISE, a UA College of Engineering solar energy research initiative, and Tucson Electric Power (TEP), recently celebrated its 15th anniversary as well as over ten years of collaboration with the University of Arizona. As a partner to the Institute for Energy Solutions (IES), the University of Arizona’s AzRISE is dedicated to the study and improvement of photovoltaic (PV) system performance and resilience under a range of operational environments.. Led by Dr. Kelly Simmons-Potter, University of Arizona, students and faculty collaborate with TEP and with the solar industry and renewable energy stakeholders from all corners of the world. The research conducted by AzRISE is an invaluable contributor to the increasing prevalence and successful implementation of solar energy generation spanning utility to individual homeowner scales.
The solar test yard offers an evaluation of solar photovoltaic technology performance under field-relevant conditions using state-of-the-art, robust data collection techniques and remote access. With a capacity for over 600 PV modules and a history of interaction with over 20 manufacturers the test yard focuses on discovering the best ways to generate, store and distribute solar energy earning international acknowledgement as a valuable scientific resource for solar energy research and large-scale system development.
AzRISE facilities also includes an accelerated degradation chamber that enables in-situ monitoring of full-scale PV module and battery storage system performance subjected to a range of controlled environmental conditions . This unique equipment tests the performance limits of solar energy systems that are critical in estimating the long-term return-on- investment for utilities, industries, and individuals who install these systems. The degradation chamber models the climates and conditions of areas all over the world, testing the durability of PV modules under specific stressors in order to improve the technology. Moreover, such information is critical in providing more accurate long-term forecasts of power generation.as a whole.
In the past 10 years, the installed solar energy in the US has grown at an annual rate of 59%, reaching an installed capacity of 60 GW in 2018 (SEIA, 2018). The research done by AzRISE and TEP supports this growth, providing a scientific foundation for the development of new PV and storage technologies and management options to further broaden the application of this renewable energy generation option into the future.
“We’re excited to contribute to Arizona leadership in renewable energy implementation and its reliable application. Our upgraded test-yard data collection infrastructure, degradation facilities, and our newly commissioned battery test capabilities expand our opportunity to work with stakeholders to develop and field highly-efficient and resilient technologies.” - Professor Kelly Simmons-Potter, ECE and OSC, UA.
"New performance degradation results are already providing insight into the development of more robust, long-term power generation forecasting in concert with UA’s Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences Department.” - Professor B. G. Potter, Materials Science and Engineering, UA.