The Renewable Power Laboratory is a world-class laboratory at EPIC that is equipped with state of art instrumentation and power infrastructure. Focused on de-risking technologies associated with renewable power systems and energy storage, this laboratory complements the work presently done in Duke Energy Smart Grid Laboratory and Flexible Energy Laboratory in the near future.
The Renewable Power Laboratory consists of solar array simulators from Ametek, which can mimic power profiles generated either by a single solar panel or a large solar array. Capable of supplying from 35Vdc up to 1000Vdc, these simulators can be employed to test the latest panel-level micro-inverters or central solar inverters that support dc link voltages upwards of 800Vdc. This laboratory also uses a 480V, three-phase 250kW, back-to-back three-level converter that serves as a wind power converter simulator. Originally designed for an actual wind power conversion system application by Clipper, this converter can be controlled with the typical speed and torque profile of a wind turbine. A control platform based on General Purpose Inverter Controller (GPIC) that has been recently introduced by National Instruments is the latest addition to this laboratory. This platform is capable of simultaneously driving 13 half bridges and is currently being employed to control a flexible power interface that can accept power from multiple sources such as photovoltaic panel, battery energy storage, generator while staying synchronized with the utility grid. This laboratory includes latest instrumentation from Tektronix which consists of high bandwidth mixed signal and mixed domain oscilloscopes along with an array of power analyzers, high-power power supplies, handheld oscilloscopes and variety of loads.