AzRISE - Testing & Evaluation
AzRISE – testing and evaluation of solar energy and grid devices
The Arizona Research Institute for Solar Energy (AzRISE), is a research center that enables multi-disciplinary research, development, and practical implementation of solar energy solutions to meet our energy needs. AzRISE creates innovative collaborations in research, education, and outreach.
The AzRISE/TEP Test Yard offers two test environments: a full-scale accelerated degradation chamber and outdoor solar test yard. The Test chamber enables complete control of environmental conditions, accelerated exposure times, ability to perform stress tests, and is fully instrumented for in-situ monitoring of device performance. The Test yard provides in-situ environments for real-time testing of PV modules as well as balance-of-system components and real-time data acquisition.
Efficiency degradation in installed solar energy systems has a large impact on long-term cost of power ($/Watt) and on return on investment for electric utility company and consumers. Environmental degradation such as temperature, humidity, UV and stress also impacts Photovoltaic performance over module lifetime. Typically, manufacturer supplied deratings do no address the specific regional and geographic variations in the climate and environment.
AzRISE has developed a methodology for ALC testing that can help to advise technology acquisitions and explain PV degradation mechanisms. AzRISE is the home of the University of Arizona’s Accelerated PV and Battery Storage Degradation Chamber. A custom chamber to control all environmental conditions with testing methodologies for cyclic stress test to failure and Accelerated lifecycle (ALC).
AzRISE also runs the PV Test Yard in collaboration with Tucson Electric Power Company (TEP) specializing in studying real-time stability and degradation measurements of over 22 PV systems from 18 Companies & Agencies. There are over 600 grid-tied PV modules from 20 different manufacturers at the TEP solar test yard field-testing 90 kWpeak of PV systems at this facility.
Since 2003, AC power measurements have been recorded every 5 minutes from individual PV systems. In 2009 TEP offered the use of their solar test yard to physics professor Dr. Alexander Cronin for performance and reliability testing of residential PV systems. Since 2009, University of Arizona researchers have monitored AC power, DC power, irradiance and temperature at 1-second intervals and written 14 publications based on test yard data. Over two-dozen UA undergraduate and graduate students have worked at the site alongside industry professionals.
Under Potter’s guidance, the TEP test yard has gained international recognition as an important scientific resource. Today there are over 20 different systems in the 90kW yard, ranging from both silicon and thin film flat plate modules to high concentrating dual-axis tracking systems. Of the solar manufacturing companies represented in the TEP solar test yard, special collaborations have been formed with Sunpower Corporation, Global Solar Energy, SOLON Corporation, Prism Solar Technologies and Semprius, Inc, with new industry partnerships developing seasonally.
Dr. Kelly Simmons-Potter
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Optical Sciences, and Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Arizona
Director of AzRISE