MTU, Sandia to Cut Ribbon on New DOE Regional Test Center for Emerging Solar Technologies


Michigan Technological University and Sandia National Laboratories will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony and tour of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) newest solar energy Regional Test Center (RTC) in Calumet, Michigan, on Aug. 16.

Attendees will hear from congressional representatives, state and federal government officials and industry leaders before touring the solar research site. Multiple cutting-edge solar technologies will be on display, including experimental systems being evaluated for their ability to increase electrical generation from photovoltaic (PV) systems in northern regions.

Established in 2012 by the DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, and under the technical oversight of Sandia National Laboratories, the RTC program represents a consortium of five outdoor solar research sites across the U.S. that collectively form a state-of-the-art technical platform for evaluating the performance and reliability of emerging PV technologies. The RTC program gives U.S. solar companies access to these multiclimate research facilities and to the technical expertise of Sandia and its academic partners to validate new technologies under rigorous conditions. Pairing industry with laboratory and academic expertise helps drive both product innovation and commercialization of new high-efficiency solar products.

The newly built Michigan Tech facility offers the RTC program a unique location to demonstrate the resilience and efficiency of new-generation PV technologies in severe winter environments and to document the energy gains from novel designs. Research is also underway at the Michigan RTC to develop new methods of rapid snow removal from PV panels. Overall, this state-of-the-art research facility plays a key role in driving the growth of solar in northern regions by helping identify the factors that will ensure the nation’s solar infrastructure is robust, dependable and high performing.

The test center will provide opportunities for research, workforce training and education to further the deployment of PV in this rural, underserved county in the Upper Peninsula, while fostering increased collaboration between the community and the University. The RTC also helps establish MTU as the premier research institution for solar energy at northern latitudes.

The event takes place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the Advanced Power Systems Research Center (APS LABS), located at 23199 Airpark Blvd. in Calumet, Michigan.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.