Newly refurbished facilities to research the performance of new and improved photovoltaic devices and help develop international standards was officially opened yesterday.
The €3 million (£2.55m) upgraded laboratories at the European Solar Test Installation (ESTI) managed by the European Commission’s in-house science service the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Italy will keep pace with the rapidly evolving PV market and address standardisation issues.
ESTI is an EU reference laboratory, which includes indoor and outdoor facilities that studies energy ratings and the lifetime and ageing of solar cells in “real life” conditions (pictured). It is part of the JRC’s SOLAREC Action on photovoltaic electricity, which promotes the development of a fair and transparent EU market for PV and is part of the system for assessing progress in achieving EU targets for renewable energy.
EU Commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said: “Renewable energy technologies are key to growth, jobs and better quality of life in Europe. In the global race for clean and competitive energy, photovoltaics in particular have huge potential to increase efficiency and reduce costs. A strong and vibrant European research infrastructure is essential to this, with the support of reference laboratories such as the JRC’s European Solar Test Installation.”
The US is also developing a new test centre to boost utility-scale clean energy grid integration technologies.