University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario
What the facility does

Photovoltaic design and characterization of devices, modules, and systems for solar and photonic power applications

Areas of expertise

The SUNLAB is a research group and core facility of the University of Ottawa, devoted to the advancement of solar power, photonic nanostructures, and power systems. Housed at the Centre for Research in Photonics in the Advanced Research Complex, the SUNLAB includes world-class equipment and instrumentation for photovoltaic characterization of devices and systems under carefully calibrated conditions, including outdoor test capabilities with multiple high-precision two-dimensional tracker systems. Researchers at the SUNLAB perform optoelectronic simulation and modelling of high-efficiency photovoltaic devices and modules, developing next-generation designs for high performance and low cost. The SUNLAB has a long track-record of successful collaborations with both industrial and academic partners, and welcomes new collaborations.

Research services
  • 1-sun, highly-colimated continuous-illumination solar simulator measurements, low-concentration continuous-illumination solar simulator measurements,
  • high-concentration continuous-illumination solar simulator measurements,
  • high-concentration flash solar simulator measurements,
  • photoluminescence measurements,
  • external and internal quantum efficiency measurements, including specular and diffuse reflectivities,outdoor solar module test site, including two-dimensional trackers and full solar resource characterization,optoelectronic device design, optical system design, thermal system design, photovoltaic system energy yield, including flat panel, bifacial and concentrator photovoltaic systems
Sectors of application
  • Aerospace and satellites
  • Clean technology
  • Construction (including building, civil engineering, specialty trades)
  • Education
  • Energy (renewable and fossil)
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Information and communication technologies and media
  • Management and business related services
  • Manufacturing and processing
  • Professional and technical services (including legal services, architecture, engineering)
  • Utilities

Specialized lab




Extreme-concentration Alpha Omega Gen3 flash solar simulator

The Gen 3 is an Indoor flash artificial sun that generates up to 5000 times the intensity of the sun over a uniform beam of 1.5×2.5 cm2, measuring the entire IV curve over a 500-μs duration.


High-concentration Spectrolab XT-30 continuous-illumination solar simulator

The XT-30 is an Indoor continuous-wave artificial sun that generates 300 to 1500 times the intensity of the sun over a uniform beam of up to 1×1 cm2 for the characterization and reliability testing of photovoltaic devices.


One-sun, highly-collimated Oriel Sol3A® continuous-illumination solar simulator

The Oriel Sol3A is an indoor continuous-wave artificial sun that generates variable intensity up to 1.2 times the intensity of the sun over a 30×30 cm2 beam, suitable for characterizing solar cells with and without concentrating optics.


Low-concentration Newport/Oriel continuous-illumination solar simulator

This indoor continuous-wave artificial sun  generates 1 to 150 times the intensity of the sun over a uniform 5×5 cm2 beam for the characterization of photovoltaic devices.


Extended -wavelength-range external and internal quantum efficiency system

This is equipment to measure the spectral response of a single- or multi-junction photovoltaic device over a wavelength range of 300nm to 1800 nm, with electrical and optical biasing.


Extended-range and low-light-level electroluminescence, photovoltage and photoluminescence measurements

This equipment is used  to study the excitation of semiconductors and semiconductor devices, such as solar cells, under intensity-controlled laser light and precise electrical biasing.


Two-dimensional sun-tracking photovoltaic systems for research

These are test sites for the characterization of photovoltaic devices and their systems under outdoor conditions, used to perform cross-correlation between different geographic regions, including equipment to measure solar panel I-V curves.


Solar resource: pyrheliometer, pyranometers, weather station

These outdoor instruments measure the solar irradiance and monitor weather conditions that affect the performance of photovoltaic devices and systems.


Solar resource: Spectroradiometers and the SunSIM

These instruments perform spectral data collection from different sources of light over a wide range of wavelengths from 300 to 2500 nm.


Computer simulations: Synopsys TCAD Sentaurus, COMSOL Multiphysics®, Crosslight, Zemax, HSPICE, MATLAB

This is numerical modelling software for solar cell and optoelectronic device design, optimization and analysis, used to simulate device response under diverse conditions and specifications.

  • National Research Council Canada
  • Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre
  • Communications Research Centre Canada
  • Institute for Microstructural Sciences
  • Institute for Research in Construction
  • Carleton University
  • McGill University
  • McMaster University
  • Université Laval
  • Queen’s University
  • University of Toronto
  • Université de Sherbrooke
  • University of Waterloo
  • Taibah University
  • Université de Lyon
  • Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
  • University of Tokyo
  • Azastra Opto Inc.
  • Cofovo Energy Inc.
  • Celestica Inc.
  • Cyrium Technologies Inc.
  • Hydro Ottawa Ltd.
  • iBionics Inc.
  • Menova Energy Inc.
  • Morgan Solar Inc.
  • Nanotec Solar Inc.
  • Neptec Design Group
  • OPEL Solar Inc.
  • Power 1 Solar
  • Quadra Solar Corporation
  • Solantro Semiconductor Corp.
  • Spectrafy Inc.
  • Toyota Research Institute North America
  • Turquoise Technology Solutions Inc.



$2.4 million in research funding for 5G wireless, pipeline safety, connected cars and the future energy and data transmission
A clear view: How a local startup is building a better bionic eye…

The First Canadian Photovoltaics Graduate School

$1.7M for University of Ottawa research projects to make a better, brighter Canada of tomorrow

University of Ottawa collaborative research wins Canadian Energy Innovation Award


Forecasting the future of solar power, by Tim Lougheed, Research Perspectives, Summer 2013, p.8-9