SolarReserve is testing engineering units at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) operated by Sandia. The company says it decided to test its prototype heliostats at NSTTF because of Sandia’s, “knowledge and reputation in the solar industry, as well as the breadth of resources available for improving and testing new designs.”
SolarReserve is focused on developing advanced heliostat designs and control algorithms that will significantly reduce overall project cost while increasing annual electricity production. SolarReserve heliostat innovation areas include nimble structure design; high-precision and efficient drive systems; ultralight and high-reflectivity mirror facets; and various heliostats and collector field control, power, and communication systems.
Current activities are focused on two types of heliostats:
- A more traditional design with a foundation and pedestal, with trusses and spars supporting a large (70–120 m2) multiple-facet mirror array driven by separate azimuth and elevation systems, and
- A smaller (1–4 m2) heliostat with an integrated tip/tilt system driving a single facet mirror that can be easily deployed and does not require any onsite manufacturing facility.