With many years of experience at the US Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Dr Dana Olson has a deep understanding of the evolution, performance and reliability of solar PV technology. He has been recently appointed global solar segment leader for DNV GL, an international organisation that has supported solar projects aggregating 5,000 MW in India through energy assessment, technical due diligence and testing.
Olson was in India recently for the launch of DNV GL’s on-site solar lab – a mobile laboratory service for on-site testing of PV modules in Bengaluru. India’s first mobile PV testing lab, it can be transported to project sites anywhere in the country. Sending modules to conventional laboratories is time consuming and costly, and involves transportation-related risks. This new lab can help customers overcome these issues. Olson says, “Implementing quality assurance for module deliveries at site is often very challenging. The current methodologies available for evaluating module degradation and health are not very robust, and measurement uncertainties are very high. This has created a need for faster, more transparent and reliable on-site PV testing processes.”
Prior to joining DNV GL, Olson initiated and managed the Durable Module Materials Consortium, which is focused on PV module materials, and component development and testing to increase the reliability and performance of PV systems. This was among Olson’s most memorable assignments as it gave him an opportunity to understand stakeholder engagement and the value of downstream developers and financiers.
In terms of management style, Olson says, “I support my colleagues to ensure they are equipped to succeed. I work with teams to set a clear vision of our goals and delegate work appropriately to ensure each member is empowered to make decisions and execute them effectively.”
Olson did his postdoctoral research at Sandia National Labs in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and graduate work at NREL while he was a student at the Colorado School of Mines. Olson enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as generally being outdoors. Going forward, he aims to continue working towards improving the transparency and efficiency of advisory, measurements and asset management services in order to reduce technical and transactional barriers to capital investment in renewable energy assets across the globe.