Center for Sustainable Energy

Resources

The Center for Sustainable Energy has a laboratory in Engineering Building, Room E405 and a section on the roof nearby for outside testing. The Center has considerable equipment in remote villages in Peru. Twice a year we visit and test systems in medical clinics, schools, and town governments in 45 villages. We maintain the equipment and learn from the performance of the systems, most of which were designed by students.  Two PV vaccine refrigerator systems and a water pumping system, one including a weather station, are constantly monitored, and data is stored every hour.  We download the data each time we visit the sites.

We also study the performance of green buildings. They are laboratories also.  

The Center has historically concentrated on research, development, installation, testing, and/or monitoring of solar systems in the field. Most experimental work is done off campus, at sites ranging from Lowell to Latin America, Somerville to Sri Lanka, and Braintree to Bangalore.

Equipment

The Center has the following equipment available for research, teaching, and public service: 

  • photovoltaic modules,
  • electrical test equipment,
  • pyranometers,
  • spectrophotometers,
  • chemical balance,
  • transceiver radios,
  • Wi-Fi antennas,
  • temperature sensors,
  • PV testing equipment,
  • inverters,
  • charge controllers,
  • daylight sensors,
  • data acquisition systems,
  • a considerable library of literature on photovoltaic and other solar systems,
  • batteries,
  • heat recovery ventilators,
  • a lab-scale fuel cell,
  • a lab-scale electrolyzer,
  • a solar resource database for developing countries,
  • microhydro generators, and
  • solar hot water collectors. 

The University has site licenses for a wide variety of general purpose software programs. In addition, the Center has special purpose software for the design of solar systems.