For the LAU, "we had to anticipate the theoretical deflections during construction [versus] during service," Lorentz explained. That meant estimating the deflections for both before and after concrete placement.

So far, the project's final design is working well, says Nikolaos Rigas, the facility's director. "Reception by industry has been very positive," he says. General Electric was the first manufacturer to initiate testing, using the 7.5-MW unit; it concluded testing in late 2014. Currently, Clemson is readying the larger rig for its first round of testing.

However, what started as a wind-energy test center is still evolving and broadening its reach. The university is working to develop what could be the world's first virtual test bed for wind-turbine drivetrains, which would enable manufacturers to evaluate designs as a precursor to physical testing.

Arguably more significant is the school's pending creation of a solar-array simulator, which eventually will be integrated with the existing grid simulator, so manufacturers can study how best to deploy their equipment and how that equipment might affect the grid.

Says Rigas, "We're pretty excited."

Submitted by Choate Construction Co.

Owner Clemson University Restoration Institute

Lead Design Firm AEC Engineering

General Contractor Choate Construction Co.

Architect, MEP Engineer Davis & Floyd