About Fraunhofer CSE: Research Facilities

Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems

A CSE researcher taking measurements in the Center's PV Durability Lab.

Building Technology Research

Building Enclosure Materials Lab

In this lab, CSE researchers develop and characterize the performance of innovative insulation retrofit materials with the potential to dramatically improve the thermal performance of wall and roof systems without creating moisture-related issues such as mold, structural degradation and rot.  


Thermal Testing Lab

Fraunhofer CSE has extensive capability to characterize the thermal performance of insulating materials and systems, including thermal conductivity also for systems with very high R-values, dynamic changes in volumetric heat capacity for phase change materials (PCMs), 3-dimensional thermal behavior of building systems, and latent and sensible heats of building materials.


Outdoor Test Huts

To carry out field evaluations of advanced building materials and systems, CSE maintains test huts: fully-instrumented, space-conditioned buildings that allow determination of dynamic heat flows and temperature profiles through envelope assemblies. CSE's Albuquerque Test Center offers ample space to perform multiple longer-term outdoor building experiments in a semi-arid climate (see Solar PV Research below).

Outdoor Exposure Facility

This experimental test facility exposes full-scale wall, roof, window, and PV components and systems to outdoor conditions in a highly controlled indoor environment, allowing CSE researchers to evaluate real-world energy and durability performance.


Data Acquisition Lab

The Data Acquisition Lab supports Fraunhofer’s efforts to evaluate, validate, and demonstrate advanced building technologies. It enables the rapid deployment of comprehensive, state-of-the-art solutions that can acquire a wealth of real-world building performance and occupant behavioral data with minimal disruption.  


Human Behavior Lab

We apply rigorous experimental psychology methodologies to evaluate the effectiveness and acceptance of emerging energy management, behavior change, and energy feedback technologies and techniques.


Solar PV Research

PV Module Manufacturing Lab

The PV Module Manufacturing Lab allows CSE's scientists to fabricate and test solar PV modules and prototype advanced materials and designs, comparing the performance and testing the reliability of individual components. The Lab also hosts research into advanced metrology tools for the solar manufacturing industry. 

PV Durability Lab

Fraunhofer CSE actively works to increase durability and reliability in solar PV modules through programs like the PV Durability Initiative. The Durability Lab allows CSE researchers to apply accelerated stress to PV modules, to precisely measure their performance and energy yield, and to evaluate the durability of prototype and commercial modules for lifetime and bankability assessments.


Rooftop Testing

Our rooftop testing facilities allow CSE researchers to perform precision outdoor measurement of PV module performance, energy yield, and lifetime under New England environmental conditions.

Outdoor Test Site in Revere, Massachusetts

Co-located with a 3-acre, 750kW solar power plant operated by National Grid, the site provides unique test capability for the northeastern climate zone. The site features solar resource and meteorological instrumentation, reference modules, automated 24-hour monitoring, peak power tracking, current-voltage (I-V) curve tracing, hot spot testing, and thermal imaging.

Outdoor Test Site in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Co-located with the CFV Solar Test Laboratory in Albuquerque, the test site is used to conduct outdoor testing for PV, building energy efficiency technologies, and smart grid applications. The site features solar resource and meteorological monitoring, I-V curve measurements of modules, capacity  for systems up to 60 kW, multichannel continual current-voltage (I-V) curve tracing, DC/AC monitoring for microinverters and string inverters, and both fixed-rack and dual-axis tracking.

Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) Lab

CSE's BIPV Lab leverages the Center's deep expertise in both PV and building technologies, and allows researchers to measure outdoor performance, energy yield and durability of rooftop and façade-integrated PV modules.


Smart Grid Research

CSE's Smart Grid Lab focuses on experimental technologies that help to integrate renewable energy sources into the distribution grid, and intelligently control sources and loads. Using simulated source and grid events, equipment can be subjected to fault and instability testing. Advanced communications and control systems are evaluated for performance, paving the way to a more reliable, efficient, and greener grid.


DEES Electrical Systems Test Laboratory

The DEES Electrical Systems Test Lab includes power systems and data acquisition services. It allows full system test of PV systems, custom sensor and data acquisition circuits, testing and instrumentation of power conversion and control technologies, and interfaces to interact and control off-the-shelf consumer and industrial equipment.


Experimental Microgrid Site

The Distributed Electrical Energy Systems group maintains a flexible experimental microgrid site in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The site offers all the essential components of a microgrid: renewable energy generation, electrical load, storage capacity, and grid connection. 


Software Laboratory - Operations & Maintenance of Renewables

The DEES software laboratory develops software displays for solar arrays, batteries, and solar power plant operations.