Sandia solar energy researcher Josh Christian and his colleagues will investigate the effects of the eclipse on the ongoing research performed at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility

Today, August 21st, the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) will experience a partial eclipse, which will result in a sickle shape of the sun disk. If it isn’t cloudy, the facility will adjust the heliostats to project the shape of the sun onto the tower. Researchers will also record the sun’s intensity, which will show a major dip in the solar resource on instruments.

About The National Solar Thermal Test Facility

The NSTTF provides experimental engineering data for the design, construction, and operation of unique components and systems in proposed solar thermal electrical plants; planned for large-scale power generation. At 200 feet tall, the NSTTF’s distinct height advantage along with its heat capabilities, offers a unique and complete testing environment to government contractors and agencies, research institutes, universities and private companies.

Fun fact: In 1977, Sandia’s NSTTF turned on its 1.8 MW solar beam. To this day, it is the only test facility of this type in the United States. The NSTTF’s primary goal is to provide experimental engineering data for the design, construction, and operation of unique components and systems in proposed solar thermal electrical plants planned for large-scale power generation.

Sandia conducts research and development (R&D) in solar power, including photovoltaics and concentrating solar power, to strengthen the U.S. solar industry and improve the manufacturability, reliability, and cost competitiveness of solar energy technologies and systems. Learn More about Sandia’s Solar Program.

Photo credit: Randy Montoya, Sandia National Laboratories.