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Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing (PART) Lab

Project Overview

The goal of the 1.1 MW Photovoltaic Applied Research and Testing (PART) Lab is to perform long-term operational testing of a commercial-scale photovoltaic electric generation system under actual conditions in Louisiana.  We are doing this to build local capacity for building, maintaining, and operating such a system; to gain experience integrating renewable and non-renewable power usage within the university; to determine the scalability of the technology; to determine the overall feasibility of the installation of MW-scale solar power plants in Louisiana; and to disseminate the knowledge gained from this project to the public. 

Sited on 6 acres in the University’s Research Park, the PART Lab was built to test several different types of solar technologies side-by-side, and was designed in a modular way that will allow the testing of new solar technologies as they become available. A photo of the PART Lab is shown in Figure 1 below.


                                          Figure 1 – PART Lab

Technology Overview

The primary types of technologies demonstrated are different types of racking systems, solar modules, and power electronics.  The bulk of the system incorporates traditional fixed-tilt ground mount racks.  Some modules will be mounted in landscape and some in portrait.  Planned future research will include the testing of solar modules using both single and dual-axis trackers.

Various types of solar modules are being tested, including monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, and thin film.  The system was built with a combination of power electronics including string inverters, and power optimizers.  The system was designed to incorporate battery storage at some point in the future.  A list of the equipment in use is shown in Table 1.

Table 1 – List of Equipment

Item Number
Racking System (standard ground mount 1,322 kW DC )
Solar Panels ‐ Peimar 325 W (polycrystalline 72 cell) 3552
Solar Panels ‐ Seraphim Solar 340 W (monocrystalline 72 cell) 434
Solar Panels ‐ Stion 130 W (CIGS thin film) 156
String Inverters ‐ Huawei 30 kW 33
String Inverters ‐ Solar Edge 33.3 kW 5
String Inverters ‐ Solar Edge 20 kW 1
Instrumentation (Data Acquisition System) 1
Radiometer and Meteorological Weather Station 1
Pad‐Mount Transformer 1250 kVA (13800Y/480Y V) 1
Pad‐Mount Grounding Transformer 75 kVA (13800Y‐D) 1










System Performance

Based on the preliminary design, it is expected that the PART Lab will produce approximately 1,900 MWh/year and offset the equivalent of 950 MT of CO2. 

Dr. Terrence L. Chambers, Ph.D, P.E . 
Mosing Endowed Chair in Energy
Director, Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Energy Center
College of Engineering   
University of Louisiana at Lafayette


This project was made possible by a substantial investment by Louisiana Generating, LLC, a subsidiary of NRG. NRG has corporate headquarters in Princeton, N.J. and in Houston. Louisiana Generating is located in New Roads, La.