Heliostats and Collector Field Controls

INTRODUCTION

SolarReserve’s heliostat tracking technology is derived from the control system deployed on the International Space Station which orbits the earth 17 times a day and is required to continually articulate its solar panels to capture energy from the sun to keep its power systems operational.

The accuracy of this tracking technology is critical to ensuring energy reflected by the heliostats is collected through the molten salt in the receiver and not “spilled” and wasted. SolarReserve’s heliostat innovation areas include nimble structure design, high precision and efficient drive systems, ultra-light and high reflectivity mirror facets, and various heliostats and collector field control, power and communication systems. In addition to design, SolarReserve has built engineering units that have been tested and validated at the Sandia National Laboratories in the U.S. and at Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA) in Spain. From these efforts, SolarReserve has forged strategic partnerships with key suppliers and engineering firms.

FEATURES

  • Proprietary thinner mirror facets are lighter and more reflective with higher optical performance
  • Tracking or pointing accuracy is measured in milliradians (very small fraction of a degree)
  • Heliostats feature very low power consumption and include an option for self-powering
  • Sophisticated control system includes option for wireless communication
  • Highly accurate GPS measurements and sophisticated software control algorithms enable precise positioning of the beam on the receiver

BENEFITS

  • Two axis tracking (traditional azimuth and elevation as well as other forms) optimizes energy collection from the sun
  • Heliostat collector field presents a tremendous opportunity for local content and on-site manufacturing
  • Wireless communications expedite collector field construction and commissioning, which eliminates costly cabling and trenching
  • Innovative heliostat design and deployment is an area where significant cost reduction is being realized for CSP projects

KEY VALUE

SolarReserve is experienced in advanced heliostat and collector field design, deployment and controls—with heliostat solutions that deliver leading performance at a competitive price point.