The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in Golden, Colorado, is the United States' primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a government-owned, contractor-operated facility; it is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This arrangement allows a private entity to operate the lab on behalf of the federal government under a prime contract. NREL receives funding from Congress to be applied toward research and development projects. NREL also performs research on photovoltaics (PV) under the National Center for Photovoltaics. NREL has a number of PV research capabilities including research and development, testing, and deployment. NREL's campus houses several facilities dedicated to PV research. Established in 1974, NREL began operating in 1977 as the Solar Energy Research Institute. Under the Jimmy Carter administration, it was the recipient of a large budget and its activities went beyond research and development in solar energy as it tried to popularize knowledge about already existing technologies, like passive solar, amongst the population.
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