The goal of the 1.1 MW Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing (PART) Lab is to perform long-term operational testing of a commercial-scale photovoltaic electric generation system under actual conditions in Louisiana. We are doing this to build local capacity for building, maintaining, and operating such a system; to gain experience integrating renewable and non-renewable power usage within the university; to determine the scalability of the technology; to determine the overall feasibility of the installation of MW-scale solar power plants in Louisiana; and to disseminate the knowledge gained from this project to the public.
Sited on 6 acres in the University’s Research Park, the PART Lab was built to test several different types of solar technologies side-by-side, and was designed in a modular way that will allow the testing of new solar technologies as they become available. A photo of the PART Lab is shown in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1 – PART Lab
The primary types of technologies demonstrated are different types of racking systems, solar modules, and power electronics. The bulk of the system incorporates traditional fixed-tilt ground mount racks. Some modules will be mounted in landscape and some in portrait. Planned future research will include the testing of solar modules using both single and dual-axis trackers.
Various types of solar modules are being tested, including monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, and thin film. The system was built with a combination of power electronics including string inverters, and power optimizers. The system was designed to incorporate battery storage at some point in the future. A list of the equipment in use is shown in Table 1.
Table 1 – List of Equipment
|Racking System (standard ground mount 1,322 kW DC )||1|
|Solar Panels ‐ Peimar 325 W (polycrystalline 72 cell)||3552|
|Solar Panels ‐ Seraphim Solar 340 W (monocrystalline 72 cell)||434|
|Solar Panels ‐ Stion 130 W (CIGS thin film)||156|
|String Inverters ‐ Huawei 30 kW||33|
|String Inverters ‐ Solar Edge 33.3 kW||5|
|String Inverters ‐ Solar Edge 20 kW||1|
|Instrumentation (Data Acquisition System)||1|
|Radiometer and Meteorological Weather Station||1|
|Pad‐Mount Transformer 1250 kVA (13800Y/480Y V)||1|
|Pad‐Mount Grounding Transformer 75 kVA (13800Y‐D)||1|
Based on the preliminary design, it is expected that the PART Lab will produce approximately 1,900 MWh/year and offset the equivalent of 950 MT of CO2.
PROJECT POINT OF CONTACT
Dr. Terrence L. Chambers, Ph.D, P.E .
Mosing Endowed Chair in Energy
Director, Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Center
College of Engineering
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
This project was made possible by a substantial investment by Louisiana Generating, LLC, a subsidiary of NRG. NRG has corporate headquarters in Princeton, N.J. and in Houston. Louisiana Generating is located in New Roads, La.