With a heavy emphasis on utility-scale PV plants in the south-west region of the US, The Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE) has opened an outdoor test field, adjacent to its solar research annex in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The new facility enables PV module and component manufacturers the opportunity to have a variety of performance and durability testing services applied in real world conditions on an independent basis, which could speed up the adoption of products for power plant applications.

The test filed, dubbed OTF-1, is equipped to supply an analysis of individual modules and components, strings or grid-tied systems. It can also monitor stabilization under open circuit, short circuit, and/or max power point conditions and inverter DC/AC power conversion analysis.

"OTF-1 will be an important resource for our customers," noted Dr. Christian Hoepfner, Scientific Director at Fraunhofer CSE. "With annual PV installation at the multi-gigawatt scale, the industry needs enhanced feedback on actual field performance and durability of both existing and new PV technologies. This facility reinforces our commitment to conducting cutting-edge solar research for our clients, and gives our experienced technical team the flexibility to accommodate a broad range of solar power performance testing projects."

CSE will be offering additional information on OTF-1 and other outdoor testing services at Booth 8501 at Intersolar North America 2012.