Energy & Environment, Engineering

Southeastern Solar Research Center Named Project of the Year, Wins Sustainability Award

October 2, 2014

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – October 2, 2014 – Southern Research Institute’s Southeastern Solar Research Center (SSRC) was named Project of the Year in My Green Birmingham’s 2014 Champions of Sustainability awards. The awards honor sustainability efforts in six categories including building and design, social progress, environment, advocacy, outstanding business, and project of the year. Winners are selected based on their contribution to Birmingham’s economic development, education, smart building and design, innovation, technology, conservation, and more. Southern Research was recognized at the second annual event Wednesday evening at The Westin Birmingham.

“I am honored that our advance in solar research was named My Green Birmingham’s 2014 Project of the Year,” said Arthur J. Tipton, Ph.D., president and CEO of Southern Research Institute. “Southern Research continues to enhance scientific and engineering initiatives and positively impact the environment in a number of ways. This project is just another example of our commitment to clean energy and to the advancement of Alabama’s research community.”

Southern Research Institute, in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Palo Alto, California, and Southern Company, including its subsidiary Alabama Power, completed the SSRC at Southern Research’s engineering campus in June 2014, totaling more than $500,000 in investment. The SSRC was built to study the climatic effects in the southeastern U.S.—high levels of heat, humidity, precipitation, and pollen—on the performance of photovoltaic (PV) systems. Data from the SSRC will provide insight into the optimal design of solar PV systems for utilities and promote a better understanding of solar PV applications in the Southeast. Southern Research is currently looking for participants to evaluate technologies in this climatic region.

“Renewable energy is a key component of sustainable development, and as one of Alabama’s leaders in energy and environmental initiatives, Southern Research is proud to contribute to its advancement,” said Michael D. Johns, vice president of Southern Research’s engineering division.

The SSRC sits on six acres and features multiple configurations of PV solar panel arrays, microinverters, and an advanced energy-monitoring system. The solar generation systems include trackers that follow the sun throughout the day as well as southwest-facing solar PV systems to evaluate the utilization of afternoon sun, when electricity use is generally higher. Additionally, the SSRC features accelerated aging testing capabilities to simulate multi-year life and performance of PV systems. Currently, it generates approximately 12 kilowatts of electricity.

About Southern Research
Southern Research Institute, founded in 1941, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) scientific research organization that conducts preclinical drug discovery and development, advanced engineering research in materials, systems development, and environment and energy research. Approximately 500 scientific and engineering team members support clients and partners in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, environmental, and energy industries. Southern Research is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, with additional laboratories and offices in Wilsonville and Huntsville, Alabama, Frederick, Maryland, Durham, North Carolina, Houston, and Cartersville, Georgia. For more information visit:

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