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Flat-Plate Solar Array (FSA) Project Engineering Overview

Publications Greatly Expanded in 2016 The PV Publications tab of this web site provides an extensive Bibliography of over 500 published documents covering the flat-plate array and module engineering technologies developed between 1975 and 1990 by the participants of the National Photovoltaics Program. A unique aspect of this expanded collection is its organization by subject matter and the immediate availability of most of the documents as linked PDFs.

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 flat-plate module and 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. Collaborators in this effort included our partner National Laboratories (Sandia, MIT Lincoln Labs and NASA LeRC, and SERI), which were involved with conducting field demonstration projects, overall PV system engineering studies, and thin-film cell development.

This web site deals with the portion of the FSA Project and DOE PV Program that was directed at developing the engineering technology base required to achieve flat plate PV modules and arrays that meet the functional, safety and reliability requirements of large-scale terrestrial photovoltaic systems applications. These activities included:
Orange BulletDevelopment 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, the portion of these activities internal to JPL were known by 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.

CL#12-2769, CL#17-0421

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