Finalist inverters for the Little Box Challenge will be tested by NREL

Can you stand the heat?

A key hurdle of the Little Box Challenge is that the finalists’ inverters will need to pass a rigorous performance test. Today we're announcing that the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado will serve as the testing facility for the high power density inverters submitted to the Little Box Challenge.

The inverters will be tested over the course of 100 hours at NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility using state of the art equipment by world-class technical staff. The results will help us ensure that the best entry wins by evaluating how the devices meet the specifications required of the high power density design. A large component of the the testing process will involve feeding DC power (the power that comes out of solar panels) to the inverters and seeing how well they provide AC electricity under various load conditions, while maintaining high conversion efficiency and not overheating. The testing staff will also look for and measure electromagnetic interference and super technical details like ripple current and total harmonic distortion.

If those words are music to your power electronics tuned ears, applicants must register by September 30, 2014. The deadline to submit a technical approach and testing application is July 22, 2015. Then up to 18 finalists will be invited to bring their inverters to NREL for testing. At that time, an event hosted by NREL, Google and the IEEE Power Electronic Society will provide finalists a chance to discuss their designs, approaches and receive a tour of the testing facility.

We look forward to seeing the amazing devices people will build.

Posted by Eric Raymond, green team member