Solar glare reflections and avian solar-flux hazards are an important concern for concentrating solar installations. Reflected sunlight from “standby” heliostats has been noted by pilots as potentially hazardous, and reports of birds being singed by concentrated sunlight has created concern.
A new software application, the Tower Illuminance Model (“TIM”), has been developed to investigate glare and avian-flux hazards at concentrating solar power towers in a convenient and interactive manner. Developed by Clifford Ho and Cianan Sims of Sandia National Laboratories and Sims Industries respectively, TIM simulates a field of heliostats in standby mode, wherein sunlight is not reflected toward the central receiver but at some location in the airspace around the receiver. The user can select a range of aiming strategies and field configurations and can navigate the simulated airspace above the heliostat field in real-time using an interactive 3D interface. As the user “flies” through the airspace, TIM calculates the irradiance, glare hazard, and potential avian flux hazard.
TIM can be requested via the Office of Science and Technical Information website.