Solar & Wind Energy

Exponent has an experienced team of scientists and engineers who have renewable energy knowledge and expertise. Enhancing their experience, team members regularly contribute to the development of related technologies in generation, transmission, and storage of energy. Additionally, Exponent’s team has a large base of knowledge, experience, and expertise related to semiconductor devices, electronic infrastructures, control mechanisms, and systems applications. Exponent also provides consulting for renewable-energy-related health, environment, and regulatory issues.

Solar Technology

Solar technologies can be broadly characterized as active or passive, depending on the way the sun’s energy is captured and converted into a usable form for consumption. Active solar technology includes equipment that directly converts the sun’s energy into electricity (photovoltaic panels), while passive solar techniques include such options as orienting a building relative to the sun’s rays or selecting materials with light-dispersing properties. Exponent's electrical engineers work closely with our colleagues in mechanical and materials engineering to address issues related to solar system design and performance.

We have knowledge and expertise related to photovoltaic (PV) devices that have application in solar-energy systems: 

  • Wafer-based crystalline silicon (single, poly or multi, and string ribbon)
  • Thin films (amorphous)
  • Concentrating photovoltaics-based on high-efficiency silicon or multi-junction solar cells
  • Concentrating solar power plants 

Exponent consulting services include: 

  • Failure analysis of devices, modules, and systems using material, mechanical, electrical and electronics, and thermal science and engineering disciplines.
  • Efficiency assessments related to device fabrication, low-cost packaging, throughput evaluation, and system topology
  • Reliability evaluation and testing
  • Research and prototype development support 
  • Regulatory consulting and exposure analysis during installation and use, as well as recycling/disposal at the end of life
  • Literature reviews and studies designed to test the off-gassing of toxic materials from devices
  • Epidemiology research, risk assessments, and best management practices 

Wind Energy

Our wind energy knowledge includes first-hand experience with the construction, operation, and maintenance of power plants and their components, and with the investigation of issues such as availability and reliability related to generating plants, as well as the technical issues unique to wind turbine technology (e.g., electrical generator performance, over-speed failure, composite materials, hydraulic leakage, tribology, etc.). This expertise extends to complex ecological monitoring, permitting, and endangered species studies and human health evaluations.

Exponent has worked closely with electric utilities in matters related to power generation, distribution, and transmission. These studies and investigations range from line-siting studies to the failure and root-cause analysis of major electrical equipment issues.  Our engineers and scientists have the expertise needed to analyze complex problems associated with wind turbine systems such as special electrical generators, power electronic systems in control systems and electrical systems needed to interface to the electric power systems. Our electrical staff has expertise in both AC and DC transmission systems.

Exponent is routinely retained to examine the design, materials, manufacturing, and operational issues involved in wind turbines and similar equipment.  Our engineers provide support throughout the lifetime of wind turbines, including the selection of potential sites, permitting and construction, long-term maintenance, monitoring and troubleshooting, and root-cause analysis when failures occur.