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Description: Sandia National Laboratories is operated and managed by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Sandia Corporation operates Sandia National Laboratories as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and supports numerous federal, state, and local government agencies, companies, and organizations.
As a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), Sandia may perform work for industry responding to certain types of federal government solicitations. The solicitation must allow FFRDC participation and meet the requirements of Sandia’s management and operating contract with DOE/NNSA.
A strong science, technology, and engineering foundation enables Sandia’s mission through a capable research staff working at the forefront of innovation, collaborative research with universities and companies, and discretionary research projects with significant potential impact.
Through science and technology, people, infrastructure, and partnerships, Sandia’s mission is to meet national needs in six areas: Nuclear Weapons; Nonproliferation; Homeland Security and Defense; Energy, Climate and Infrastructure Securit; Defense Systems and Assessments; Science, Technology, and Engineering.

Sandia’s Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory has recently added several capabilities. Low voltage, 0-120V 8 kW and high voltage 60-1100V 100 kW battery simulators were commissioned in 2019. Also, 100 interoperable microinverters were installed for power hardware-in-the-loop simulations. A cyber-power co-simulation environment, called SCEPTRE, was integrated into the lab for adversary-based assessments of virtualized DER communication networks. Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) relays have been integrated into hardware-in-the-loop testing for demonstration of adaptive protection. Five grid-forming inverters (ranging from 2 – 100 kVA), SEL MicroGrid Controller RTAC 3555, and programmable high resolution 150 kW/150 kVar RLC load banks were added to the lab.


Distributed Energy Technologies Laboratory (DETL)

Description: The DETL provides a highly configurable distributed systems evaluation platform for characterizing distributed resources and controllers, including inverters, other power electronics equipment, and programmable loads. Specialized equipment and capabilities allow for evaluation of grid interaction, operational efficiency, interoperability, safety and reliability under a wide range of conditions, including irradiance variability, array mismatch, temperature, power level, voltage and frequency, grid-connected and microgrid configurations and transitions.
The laboratory reaches a power range of 150kW for PV up to 600 V DC, 240kW for simulated PV up to 1000 V DC, 180kVA for the grid simulator, 225kW for the diesel genset and 1MW for the Energy Storage Test Pad. The facility is in operation since 1982 and is managed by five constant employees. For the future, an extension including a cyber-grid test platform is planned.

Static Equipment

Distributed generation equipment
Description: 150 kW of PV available as a configurable DC source; 30 kW Capstone Microturbine; 225 kW diesel generator; 600 kWh battery bank.

PV inverters
Description: 15 PV inverters ranging from 3 kW to 100 kW.

Microinverter testbed
Description: Microinverter testbed with 3 different manufacturers

Description: Fully configurable single and three-phase microgrids

PV simulators
Description: Two PV simulators (40 kW and 200 kW) with hardware in the loop capability, allowing up to 20 separate inverters to interact with distinct or identical DC sources of different module technologies.

AC simulator
Description: 180 kVA AC simulator allowing grid variations in frequency and voltage.

Control infrastructure
Description: Extensive control infrastructure for automated tests, data acquisition and analysis.

LRC load banks
Description: Avtron reactive load bank (Avtron K595, K589, K596).

Energy Storage Test Pad
Description: Integration into Sandia’s Energy Storage Test Pad, with capacity for electrical, control characterization of large storage systems and power conditioning units up 1 MVA.

Communications infrastructure
Description: Communications infrastructure to assess smart-grid commands using several protocols, such as DNP3, Modbus and SEP.

Description: Dynamometers for motor testing (single phase and 3 phase).

PMUs and PI historians

Mobile Equipment

Data acquisition equipment, e.g., Yogokawa WT3000

Simulation/optimisation tools
  • OPAL-RT system
  • Typhoon HIL
  • Cybersecurity testing capabilities including Kali linux penetration testing platform, reconfigurable networking, emulated networking capabilities, Virtual machine capabilities.
  • Extensive grid simulation capabilities with OpenDSS, PSLF, HyperSim
Testing services
DETL is a research facility. Some of the research involves the following:

  • Inverter tests for anti-islanding (autonomous methods and communication methods (PLCC, synchrophasor), voltage and frequency ride-throughs, and other safety and performance tests.
  • Inverter experimentation for advanced grid-support functions (e.g., volt-var, frequency-watt, etc.) and inverter interoperability experiments using the SunSpec System Validation Platform.
  • Energy Storage Performance and Interoperability.
  • DER reliability experiments with a thermal chamber.
  • PV system protection experiments, e.g., arc and ground fault experiments.
  • Synchrophaser analysis.
SCADA Technologies and security/privacy regulations
  • SCADA Technologies: DETL has a Wonderware SCADA system and communicates to DERs and meters around the laboratory.
  • Most important communication standards in the U.S.: IEEE 1815 (DNP3), IEEE 2030.5 (SEP 2)
  • Most important communication protocols in the U.S.: IEEE 1815 (DNP3), IEEE 2030.5 (SEP 2), IEC 61850, OpenADR, SunSpec, SGIP Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB)
  • Most used broadband technologies to control SCADA systems in the U.S.: Dedicated fiber lines
  • Most important standardisation organisation in the U.S.: IEEE, IEC, NEC
  • Outstanding technology for next 10 years concerning smart grid/renewable energy, considered as most important: Smart interoperable inverters/DER
  • Communication protocol, considered as most important in the future: IEC 61850, SunSpec
Recent Publications
A full list of SANDIA PV publications can be accessed here.

Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory managed and operated by National Technology & Engineering Solutions of Sandia, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International, Inc., for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-NA0003525.

last updated: 29.10.2019

Sandia National Laboratories/ the U. S.