A SunShot Initiative

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Program (now SunShot) established five Regional Test Centers (RTCs) across the United States to independently validate the performance and reliability of photovoltaic (PV) concentrated PV (CPV) systems. These test centers, which are under the technical oversight of Sandia National Laboratories and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are generating the data needed to attract financial investors and drive widespread PV deployment. To this end, the RTCs:

  • provide independently validated performance data to support commercialization of new technologies;
  • collect data to help develop a set of standardized protocols for PV system validation, applicable to different climates and settings; and
  • support the goals of the DOE SunShot Initiative by helping accelerate PV deployment in the US.

The RTCs Address a Key Challenge in the Commercialization of Solar Technologies

Too often, new technologies, including PV systems, lack rigorous performance data and have trouble drawing the investment dollars needed for commercialization. Unable to cross this so-called technological valley of death, many never make it to market. To help solve this critical problem, the RTCs will provide energy-technology companies with the rigorous and highly calibrated testing and evaluation studies they need to win investor confidence and bring their products to market.

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To maintain U.S. competitiveness, the DOE recognizes that more must be done to help companies developing new technologies cross the second “Valley of Death”—the lack of capital resources required to demonstrate the large-scale manufacturing and economic viability and reliability (or “bankability”) of a particular technology pathway.