Southern Research Institute opens solar energy research center

Southern Research Institute completed a facility to study solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The facility, the Southeastern Solar Research Center, will house numerous research efforts beginning with an Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) project focused on solar PV system orientation, tracking and aging.


“This new facility will accelerate our solar photovoltaic research and provide unique data that may aid utilities in the optimal design of solar PV systems,” stated Michael D. Johns, vice president, engineering at Southern Research Institute. “A number of utilities, including Southern Co. and its subsidiary Alabama Power are interested in evaluating the performance and operating characteristics of different configurations for solar PV systems. The SSRC may provide key insights into their performance in the high heat, high humidity, high precipitation and high pollen environment typical of this area of the country. We are excited to host this research site, and pleased to be working with EPRI to advance this important technology.”

The Southeastern Solar Research Center includes multiple configurations of photovoltaic solar panel arrays, microinverters and an advanced energy-monitoring system, including trackers that follow the sun throughout the day, as well as southwest-facing solar PV systems to evaluate the use of afternoon sun, when electricity use is generally higher. The SSRC will be located on the campus of Southern Research Institute in Birmingham, Ala. The center is looking for participants to evaluate technologies in this region.

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