The unique capabilities and testing expertise of the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF), operated by Sandia on behalf of the Department of Energy, will once again by used by an industry partnership supporting Department of Energy goals toward cheaper, more efficient energy.
Sandia will support the design, testing, and validation of an advanced heliostat system, optimized for next-generation CSP systems. Also known as collectors, heliostats are large arrays of mirrors which collect and focus sunlight. In a concentrating solar power plant, the collectors focus sunlight on a centralized receiver. The receiver captures the heat, where it can be stored and used to produce power on demand. Collectors make up a significant portion of the capital cost for the system. Advanced collectors could help to boost efficiency and lower the cost of electricity from concentrating solar power plants, supporting progress toward the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office’s 2030 cost goals of $0.05 per kWh for baseload configurations.
Led by SolarReserve, LLC, in partnership with Stellenbosch University, the project is titled “HelioSR3 – Fully Autonomous Heliostat System for SolarReserve Exceeding Gen3 Targets.” The effort is one of many announced by the solar office to advance early-stage solar technologies.
During Phase One of the project, Sandia SolarReserve and Stellenbosch University’s R&D activities at the NSTTF. At the end of phase one, Sandia will help the team to assemble an integrated heliostat system design. During Phase Two, both partners will complete the integrated design and build several prototype heliostats to form a heliostat system test at the facility. Sandia will then lead a testing campaign for the remainder of the project, enabling the partners to refine and validate their technology.
About the NSTTF
Operated by Sandia National Laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) is the only test facility of this type in the United States. The NSTTF provides experimental engineering data for the design, construction, and operation of unique materials, components and systems in proposed concentrating solar power plants
About the Solar Energy Technologies Office
The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office supports early-stage research and development to improve the reliability and performance of solar technologies. Learn more at energy.gov/solar-office.