Sandia National Laboratory Photovoltaic Design Resources

From Open Energy Information

Sandia National Laboratories' Photovoltaic Research and Development program works with industry and academia to accelerate development and acceptance of technologies for photovoltaic energy systems.

The program has published a series of handbooks and booklets that describe design guidelines for stand-alone photovoltaic system installations, photovoltaic water pumping systems, and evaluating photvoltaic applications for utilities, Indian tribes, U.S. Federal agencies, and electric utilities. Although the report publication dates range from 1987 to 2000, much of the information is still relevant and useful today. The following list is a selection from the complete publication list:

Stand-Alone Photovoltaic Systems, A Handbook of Recommended Design Practices
Presents recommended design practices for stand-alone photovoltaic (PV) systems. System-level tradeoffs necessary for any PV application are discussed. The report describes a system sizing method that can be completed without access to a computer, instructions and blank worksheets, and 15 specific examples of PV systems designed to meet a wide range of applications. Each example includes sizing, design, hardware specifications, installation description, and cost information.
Maintenance and Operation of Stand-Alone Photovoltaic Systems
A guide for engineers, planners, maintenance supervisors, and all maintenance personnel involved in the operation, inspection, troubleshooting, repair, and maintenance of PV systems. It is designed to be used in the field by the personnel performing the actual inspection, maintenance, or repair of solar power systems.
Working Safely with Photovoltaic Systems
This booklet contains safety recommendations for people who work with PV systems.
Water Pumping, The Solar Alternative
Provides an introduction to understanding the characteristics, including economics, of PV-powered water pumping systems. Although thousands of these systems exist worldwide, many potential users do not know how to decide whether or not PV pumping systems are an attractive option for them. This report provides current information on design options, feasibility assessment, and system procurement so that the reader can make an informed decision about water pumping systems, especially those powered with PV.
Photovoltaic Applications
Booklet to help decision makers in electric utilities identify and evaluate possible applications for photovoltaics.
Photovoltaic Systems for Utilities
This report discusses the use of PV technology within the electric utility industry. Current, cost-effective applications--those with immediate payback periods--are illustrated. Readers are given key technical factors that should be considered in determining whether PV is an appropriate choice to meet their energy needs.
The Interconnection Issues of Utility-Intertied Photovoltaic Systems
For PV to realize its potential as a significant contributor to U.S. energy requirements, PV systems must be capable of benign interconnections with existing electric utility systems. Technical questions, including such issues as how the PV system will respond to the dynamics of the utility system and how it will impact the quality of the utility's voltage and power, have to be discussed. In an effort to understand these questions and their answers, the National PV Program has amassed a significant data base concerning PV/utility interface issues. This report discusses technical issues associated directly with the PV/utility interface.
The Interconnection of Photovoltaic Power Systems with the Utility Grid: An Overview for Utility Engineers
This report examines various aspects of and issues associated with the growing interest in interconnecting PV systems with utilities. Included are sections on barriers to widespread use, specific system design issues, utility-specific issues, and an overview of the design and installation process. It also presents a guide to applicable codes, standards, and related documents. Identifying and solving the potential problems associated with utility interconnection of dispersed power generation systems will assist in enabling the technology to develop and emerge into the marketplace.
Solar Photovoltaics for Development Applications
Introduces PV technology to those specializing in development activities. Examples of actual installations illustrate the many services supplied by PV systems in development applications, including water pumping, lighting, health care, refrigeration, communications, and a variety of productive uses. The various aspects of the technology are explored to help potential users evaluate whether PV can assist in achieving their organizational goals. Basic system design, financing techniques, and the importance of infrastructure are included, along with additional sources of information and major U.S. PV system suppliers.


  1. Sandia Photovoltaic Research and Development