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Flat-Plate Solar Array (FSA) Project Engineering Overview

The Flat-Plate Solar Array (FSA) Project, funded by the U.S. Government and managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was formed in 1975 by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the module/array technology needed to attain widespread terrestrial use of photovoltaics by 1985. To accomplish this, the FSA Project established and managed an Industry, University, and Federal Government Team to perform the needed research and development.

This web site deals with the portion of the FSA Project that was directed at developing the engineering technology base required to achieve modules that meet the functional, safety and reliability requirements of large-scale terrestrial photovoltaic systems applications. These activities included:

Orange Bullet
Development of functional, safety, and reliability requirements for such applications;
Orange BulletDevelopment of the engineering analytical approaches, test techniques, and design solutions required to meet the requirements;
Orange BulletSynthesis and procurement of candidate designs for test and evaluation;
Orange BulletPerformance of extensive testing, evaluation, and failure analysis to define design shortfalls and, thus, areas requiring additional research and development.

During the life of the FSA Project, these activities were known by and included a variety of evolving organizational titles: Design and Test, Large-Scale Procurements, Engineering, Engineering Sciences, Operations, Module Performance and Failure Analysis, and at the end of the Project, Reliability and Engineering Sciences.

The PV Publications tab of this web site provides a complete Bibliography of the nearly 400 published documents covering the accomplishments and technologies developed during both the FSA project (1975 to 1986), and during follow-on activites from 1986 to 1991. These follow-on activities were principally focused on thin-film PV module technologies funded by the Solar Energy Research Instritute (SERI, now NREL) in Golden, CO and on concentrator PV module technologies funded by Sandia Laboratory in Albuquerque, NM.

Links are provided to PDF versions of many of these documents to aid in acquiring them.




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