Advanced Solar Energy Systems Technology Testing Center – Largest in the U.S.
The Solar Technology Acceleration Center (SolarTAC),the nation’s largest solar energy technology testing facility, announces the addition of the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC (Alliance), which manages and operates the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), as a sponsoring member.
Located in Colorado, near Denver International Airport, SolarTAC is a private, member-based, 74-acre outdoor facility where the solar industry tests, validates, and demonstrates advanced solar technologies. SolarTAC was launched in 2008 by a public-private consortium, including Midwest Research Institute (MRI), which is a governing member of the Alliance.
SolarTAC members can work alone or with other members on research and demonstration projects, as well as fully integrated solar systems before commercial deployment. Solar energy companies also can use the facility to show customers how their systems work under real conditions. The facility provides field-testing for both photovoltaic and concentrated solar power systems, including access to the electricity grid.
The Alliance recently signed a membership agreement with SolarTAC on behalf of NREL. Through this membership, NREL researchers gain access to a collaborative commercial-scale facility that is newer and more extensive than facilities at its research campus 20 miles to the west in Golden, CO. SolarTAC will help advance the Laboratory’s goal to accelerate the commercial adoption of solar energy technologies and enhance the Laboratory’s critical role in developing and testing the next generation of solar energy technologies.
“SolarTAC’s ‘kick-the-tires’ environment provides an unprecedented opportunity for first-hand observation and evaluation of solar technology performance under real-world conditions,” said Casey Porto, NREL’s Senior Vice President of Commercialization and Deployment.
“This membership with the Alliance provides SolarTAC with a world-class scientific partner for solar research and development,” said SolarTAC’s Executive Director Dustin T. Smith. “It is a significant step toward our memberships’ goal of accelerating utility-scale solar technologies into the marketplace.”
SolarTAC originated when six public and private sector entities — Abengoa Solar, the City of Aurora, the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, Midwest Research Institute (MRI), SunEdison, and Xcel Energy — joined forces to establish a site where member companies can bring their early commercial or near-commercial stage solar technologies for testing and demonstration under actual field conditions.
About the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
The Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, manages and operates NREL, under contract to the U.S. Department of Energy. The Alliance is equally owned and governed by Midwest Research Institute and Battelle. www.allianceforsustainableenergy.org/
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for DOE by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC. www.nrel.gov
About Abengoa Solar
Abengoa Solar develops and deploys technologies to generate clean energy from the sun. Abengoa Solar develops, designs, builds and operates in the U.S. Concentrating Solar Power (C.S.P.) and photovoltaic power plants and installations. Abengoa Solar also develops its own technology through R&D projects in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy and NREL, among others. www.abengoasolar.com
About Sun Edison
SunEdison is North America’s largest solar energy services provider. The company finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed, predictably priced solar energy services for its commercial, government and utility customers. SunEdison is a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials (NYSE:WFR) . www.sunedison.com
About Xcel Energy
Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company with regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. Xcel Energy provides a comprehensive portfolio of energy-related products and services to 3.3 million electricity customers and 1.8 million natural gas customers through its regulated operating companies. Company headquarters are located in Minneapolis. More information is available at www.xcelenergy.com
About Midwest Research Institute (MRI)
MRI, a not-for-profit scientific research organization with nearly 2,800 employees under management nationwide, performs contract research and laboratory consulting services for clients in government, industry, and academia. Established in 1944, MRI is one of the nation’s leading independent research institutes, conducting research in the areas of national security and defense, energy and environment, life sciences, food and agriculture, and transportation safety. With headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., MRI also has operations in Colorado, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. MRI is a partner in and chair of the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC, which manages and operates the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo., for the U.S. Department of Energy. www.mriresearch.org
About Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory
The Collaboratory is a renewable energy research partnership among the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Colorado’s premier research universities – Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University and the University of Colorado – Boulder. The Collaboratory seeks to develop and commercialize renewable energy technologies, promote economic growth in Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Region and the nation with renewable energy industries, and educate our nations’ finest energy researchers, technicians and work force. The Collaboratory’s research centers provide access to four world class institutions through a single point of contact. Nearly 50 companies, from Fortune 500 companies to clean energy startups, have already joined Collaboratory centers. www.coloradocollaboratory.org
About the City of Aurora
More than 309,000 people and 10,000 businesses choose to call Aurora home, making it the third most populous city in Colorado and the 58th largest in the country. The City of Aurora, ranks the sixth safest among cities of its size, offers an extensive range of services to create a livable, enjoyable community. Just minutes away from Denver International Airport, the strategically located city serves as the gateway to the Rockies. City leaders’ vision for growth focuses the principles of sustainability, energy efficiency and renewable energy. SolarTAC is located on City of Aurora land master planned for furthering renewable energy projects.
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