NREL To Test Inverters For ‘Little Box Challenge’


The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will test power inverters submitted to the Little Box Challenge, an open competition to build smaller power inverters for use in solar power systems.

Each of the 18 finalists will be invited to bring their inverter to the NREL's Energy Systems Integration Facility in Golden, Colo., for testing and evaluation against the contest parameters. The winner of the $1 million prize will have designed and built a kilowatt-scale inverter with the highest power density – at least 50 W per cubic inch.

NREL researchers will evaluate each inverter's efficiency and performance during the same set of typical operating conditions spanning 100 hours. The test results will help competition co-sponsor Google decide the winner. The International Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Power Electronics Society is also sponsoring the program. The grand prize winner will be announced in late 2015 or early 2016.

Applicants intending to compete for the prize must register their team by Sept. 30 on the Little Box Challenge website here.

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