To validate LED solar simulator performance beyond the highest calibration standards in the world
Edmonton, AB — April 09, 2021: The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is using a G2V Sunbrick™ solar simulator in the first phase of a collaborative plan to validate LED solar simulator performance toward its ultimate use in better testing of multi-junction solar cells.
NREL researchers will integrate the instrument into one of their photovoltaic characterization test beds, as well as validate the temporal stability, spatial uniformity and spectral mismatch – the aspects of what makes a Class AAA solar simulator. NREL plans to use G2V’s Sunbrick™ to understand the intricacies and opportunities that precision LED light sources have to offer.
“LED-based technologies have been a major positive disruption in conventional lighting,” stated Ryan Tucker, CEO of G2V Optics. “G2V has championed their use in the most demanding and precise applications, like aerospace testing, photovoltaics characterization, and advanced photobiology. The scientists at NREL are leaders in photovoltaic testing and we’re really excited to be working with them to validate our technology to a new level.”
This collaboration is possible thanks in part to funding from the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). Under its Business Scale-up and Productivity Program, WD is providing a repayable contribution of $1.34 million to enable G2V Optics to increase manufacturing and export capacity of its solar simulation technology.
There are many advantages to using LED solar simulators, but the prospect of moving toward a standalone multi-junction solar cell test station is the most exciting in the near term. In multi-junction solar cells, you have between two and six absorbers, and to properly test each one, you need very fine spectral control to ensure each junction sees the same flux it would normally see in the standard solar spectrum. This type of testing is difficult to perform using traditional gas-discharge-lamp technology, but greatly simplified with the Sunbrick™, which has the ability to carefully adjust the spectrum via individual LED channels, conveniently controlled through software, over a large 25 cm x 25 cm area.
G2V’s technology has already been validated in other contexts. It has been used extensively for academic and industrial R&D purposes at major technology centers in over 25 countries, but what makes this collaboration different are NREL’s requirements for precision, which are among the most rigorous in the world. The results of the collaborative testing will validate—at the highest level—the benefits of LED solar simulators in replicating sunlight. LED technology doesn’t exhibit the major disadvantages of gas discharge lamps such as the costly replacement and degradation of bulbs, the long warm up times, the need for expensive optical filters, and the excess substrate heating that arises from undesired infrared peaks in the spectrum.
The rigorous testing will also evaluate the Sunbrick™ against the new, more stringent Class A+ standards in IEC 60904-9:2020. This standard introduces new measures to raise the bar for high-quality solar simulation—a bar many solar simulators simply won’t meet, but for which G2V has been designing from the outset.
NREL and G2V established contact in 2019 at the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), and the ties between our organizations have recently been strengthened through the Canada/NREL Cleantech Accelerator run by Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service with the objective to provide high-potential Canadian technology companies the opportunity to access NREL’s unique resources to accelerate growth to a global scale. NREL and G2V’s collaboration is only the beginning of what holds the promise to accelerate the development of all types of solar cells and other forms of sunlight-driven renewable energy conversion.
About G2V Optics:
G2V Optics is an emerging leader in smart lighting, monitoring, and data science solutions for advanced cultivation and solar research applications. The company is committed to delivering the highest ROI to the world’s leading innovators of light-dependent systems with the proprietary Engineered Sunlight™ platform.
G2V is headquartered in Edmonton, Canada and is an established innovator in software-controlled, adjustable-spectra technologies for aerospace and solar energy applications with customers at global technology firms and research institutions in over 25 countries. For more information, come find us at www.g2voptics.com.