2017 SolarPACES Conference in Chile

Thursday, 12 January 2017 10:32

The 23rd SolarPACES Conference to be held in Santigo de Chile, Chile, will take place from 26th to 29th of September 2017 at the Hotel W Santiago.

Guideline for Bankable STE Yield Assessment

Monday, 09 January 2017 14:23

Solar thermal energy (STE), often named Concentrating Solar  Power (CSP), is expected to play an important role in the world’s future electricity supply. Thermal energy storage, an essential part of a concentrating solar thermal power plant, allows for decoupling of solar energy harvest and subsequent electricity production. By this means, demand oriented power production can be realized. By hybridization with fossil fuel burners (or gas turbines/reciprocating engines) time periods of low solar resource are bridged. 


Besides continuous technical improvements of the plants it is of vital importance for a broad market introduction to predict the electricity outcome and thus the financial revenues in high quality. Both, the physical outcome of the plant and the cost/revenue balance are key to project finance. The SolarPACES Guideline for Bankable STE Yield Assessment provides guidance to the stakeholders involved in yield prediction of STE systems. The guideline addresses the project development process which is roughly described by the three phases


  • Pre-feasibility study phase
  • Feasibility study phase
  • Proposal engineering phase

as illustrated in figure 1. The consecutive activities related to guarantee models and acceptance testing are not the focus of this document although strong links exist between the project development and the contractual phase.




Guideline documents for download


In December 2016, the first version of the guideline is released which consists of the main document, entitled “Guideline”, and an appendix that compiles an extensive list of distinct definitions required for STE yield analysis. Most chapters of the guideline are designed to be technology-independent. In the first version of the SolarPACES Guideline, the parabolic trough with oil and molten salt tower technologies are presented.


The following files are available for download:



Apart from these SolarPACES reviewed documents a number of additional documents have been developed within the CSPBankability project. The material is published on the DLR website and will serve as draft for future extensions of the guideline. Interested users are invited to download and use also these documents.


Supporting material


As a basis for tool development, tool comparison, and comparative studies a large number of meteorological data sets have been compiled by German company Suntrace. These data sets are free to use for scientific purposes. The respective files contain a text to be used in the Acknowledgements when using these data. For details, please refer to the documentation which is available for download.


An annual data set is available for all variations shown in the following table resulting in 4x4x4x2=128 individual data sets.




The four zip files with the meteo data sets are provided for download under the link:


A comprehensive documentation for the datasets is available for download.


Continuous update process


Draft material for an extension of the guideline is already available by the end of December 2016. However, this material needs to undergo a comprehensive review process in order to ensure high quality documents. It is foreseen to form a group of experienced experts from various R&D institutes world-wide that organizes the review process. The next steps in this working group will be:


  • Formation of an expert group for the continuous update process (spring 2017)
  • Development of a tool checklist based on the guideline requirements (summer 2017)
  • Extension of the guideline with several appendices (planned for 2018 depending on the funding situation at that time)
  • Extension to other technologies (planned for 2018 depending on funding)


Dissemination activities


The following activities are foreseen to promote the usage of the guideline throughout the STE community:


  • Publication of a checklist document (summer 2017)
  • Introductory webinars to be held and provided for download (2017)
  • Presentation of the guideline at international conferences (2017…)
  • Active dialog together with end users and important stakeholders (in planning)
  • Usage of the guideline in day-to-day work


Some background on the guideline development process 



In 2009, a group of SolarPACES experts started a mission under the headline “guiSmo-a guideline for standardized yield analysis of solar thermal power plants”. Several steps have been carried out in various workshops and meetings resulting in a compilation of relevant physical effects, a general modeling framework, a first compilation of important terminology, and handbook chapter structure. Due to funding limitations, the pace of developing the guideline slowed down dramatically. However, in 2014, national funding was obtained from the German government in order to relaunch the activities with the mission to work out a guideline proposal for discussion within the international expert group of SolarPACES. The first version of this guideline has passed an international review process within the SolarPACES Task I expert community. The guideline document and the Appendix T “Terminology” have been published in December 2016 as SolarPACES reports.


Contact persons


Tobias Hirsch     Coordinator of the guideline project (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Mark Mehos     SolarPACES Task I Operating Agent




The guideline activity has been funded by SolarPACES and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy as well as many contributions from experts world-wide. The main authors and contributors to the documents are mentioned in the documents.


2017 SFERA2 Training Course

Thursday, 22 December 2016 14:32

SFERA II Training course for CSP professionals on:


Optical and Thermal Component Testing of Parabolic Troughs and Influence on System Efficiency


Location: Plataforma Solar de Almería, 04200 Tabernas, Spain

Date: 24.-28.04.2017

Target group: The course is designed for representatives from the CSP industry and companies (engineers, researchers) who want to be trained on real CSP hardware. Participants from the public sector can not participate.

Course Language: English

Objective: This course focuses on Optical and Thermal Component Testing of Parabolic Troughs and Influence on System Efficiency.


More information:

NREL's System Advisor Model Survey Update

Thursday, 15 December 2016 12:59

NREL is asking for your help with the stewardship of the System Advisor Model, or SAM ( SAM's CSP modules include parabolic trough, linear Fresnel, steam and molten-salt power towers, and dish/Stirling technologies. SAM updates are released roughly once per year and in addition to code enhancements, the SAM team endeavors to keep the default capital and operating costs updated to reflect representative market costs. Your assistance is requested to complete a short survey regarding the CSP default cost values in SAM.


Links below are provided for three related surveys that ask questions about the default cost parameters that are used in SAM. We seek your feedback on these values as a means of checking SAM’s inputs with the knowledge of the CSP industry and CSP stakeholders.


  • SAM Cost Category Survey: Power Tower


  • SAM Cost Category Survey: Parabolic Troughs


  • SAM Cost Category Survey: Linear Fresnel


Please complete the survey(s) for which you have knowledge. Feel free to forward this request to others within your company if you feel that is appropriate. For data veracity we request contact and company name; however, all responses are kept confidential. You may leave sections blank if you do not feel you have reliable information on those technologies.


Thank you for your time and consideration in this manner. It is much appreciated. We ask that you complete the survey by 19th of December 2016 if possible. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or issues.




Craig Turchi, PhD (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Parthiv Kurup (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

September 13th, National Energy Administration issued a notice on the construction of concentrating solar power generation demonstration projects, up to 20 projects were included in this first demonstration project list and the status showed that the capacity was around 1.35GW . There are 9 tower projects, 7 parabolic trough projects and four Fresnel project, no dish projects was selected. Among these demonstrations projects, ten of them come from members of the China national solar thermal energy alliance.

According to the notice, based on Notice of the National Energy Administration on the organization of construction of the concentrating solar power demonstration projects([2015]355), Development and Reform Commission (Department of energy) of Qinghai Province, Gansu Province, Hebei Province, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Xinjiang autonomous region, Energy Regulatory Authority of north and northwest China, Energy Regulatory Office of Gansu and Xinjiang, State Grid Corporation of China(SGCC),China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute(CREEI), Electric Power Planning & Engineering Institute (EPPEI) and China National Renewable Energy Centre(CNREC) organized a group of experts to review in order to determine the final list.

Pricing policy of concentrating solar power generation has just been settled, only by being put into operation before 2019 can the demonstration projects enjoy the 1.15 yuan/kWh solar thermal power benchmark price. Leaving only more than 2 years, it can be predicted that the selected CSP demonstration projects will start developing and constructing soon to accomplish planned agenda on time.

China Projects


Information kindly provided by China National Solar Thermal Alliance


All the most important European concentrated solar energy R&D infrastructures are participating in the ‘Solar Facilities for the European Research Area Second Phase (SFERA II)’ Project, funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Program ‘Capacities‘, Specific Program ‘Research Infrastructures’.


Since one of the goals of this project concerns trans-national access, the most relevant European R&D infrastructures will be opening their doors to interested users groups, thereby optimizing use of the facilities and creating critical mass for new research initiatives, free of charge to the users.


The CIEMAT-PSA, CNRS-PROMES, PSI-Villigen, UAL-CIESOL and ENEA-Casaccia sites will be providing access to their state-of-the-art high-flux solar research facilities.


The website address is: There you will find all the basic information you need, like the access conditions.


Please, see the ‘Access to facilities’ section where you can find further information on the R&D themes and research areas, and the different facilities offered for access by each institution. In this ‘Access to facilities’ section, the ‘User Research Proposal Form’ can also be found and download.


The deadline to submit access applications is January 31, 2017

Eleven research institutes and industry partners from seven European countries and from Morocco involved in the project WASCOP have set an ambitious goal: they want to reduce water consumption by more than 70 percent, using appropriate methods, not compromising the system efficiency.


In research, politics and industry the issue of water conservation is a key challenge in order to promote the acceptance and further implementation of CSP technology.
Solar thermal power plants need water mainly for cooling purposes in the turbine cycle and for mirror cleaning. For both applications, the project partners from research and industry will develop and test innovative measures to reduce water consumption within the next four years. The Institute of Solar Research is involved with three research groups in the project WASCOP.


Site selection is crucial


Dr. Stefan Wilbert’s DLR research team based at the Plataforma Solar de Almería in Spain is working on a model to improve the understanding of the meteorological causes of soling and the mechanisms of particle adhesion.


The model is a first step towards a space resolved prediction of soiling rates. This can reduce the requirements for cleaning and thus the water consumption inof a concentrating solar thermal power plant already in the planning phase. The results of this task can further be used by the project partners to develop strategies against soiling during plant operation, for example by adapting the nocturnal parking positions of the collectors.


The accumulation of dust, dirt and sand on the mirrors of the collectors reduces their reflectivity and thus the yield of the power plant. Therefore, cleaning vehicles regularly clean the solar mirrors and absorber tubes using brushes and high-pressure water. A solar thermal power plant with 50 megawatts electric output and a thermal storage capacity of seven and a half hours full load operation can have a mirror surface area of approximately 500,000 square meters. Roughly 180 cubic meters of demineralized water are required daily for the cleaning of a solar field of such size.


Protective coatings and innovative cleaning methods for low water consumption


Special coatings on the solar reflectors can reduce the adhesion of dirt and particles to the mirror surface. In laboratory tests and outdoor exposure campaigns at the Plataforma Solar de Almería and several desert locations, Dr. Florian Sutter’s DLR research group investigates the efficiency and durability of different anti-soiling coatings. These shall maintain its dirt-repelling and reflective properties in harsh desert climates as long as possible.


An innovative, water saving method for mirror cleaning makes use of the dew water that condenses on the mirror surfaces mainly during in the morning hours. The Stuttgart-based DLR solar researcher Andreas Pfahl is developing a cleaning lip system that moves along the mirror with the help of gravity.



Heliostat mirror cleaning system using dew water and a gravity driven lip. Images: DLR


Reduced water consumption with dry cooling


In a CSP plant, water is heated by solar-generated heat and converted into steam that drives a turbine to generate electricity. This vapor is then cooled with water or air to condense back into water that can be used again to generate steam. A CSP plant with conventional water cooling uses about 90 percent of its total water consumption to dissipate the condensation heat from the turbine cycle and 10 percent for the cleaning of the solar field.


The use of dry cooling with air instead of water has been shown to reduce water consumption by up to 90 percent. However, dry cooling systems reduce the overall system efficiency as they require electrical power to run the large fans of the cooling unit. A goal of the project WASCOP is to significantly increase the efficiency of dry and hybrid cooling technologies.



Representatives of the project partners at the kick-off meeting held in Brussels on 12/13 January. Picture: CEA/Bourdon


The project was launched in January 2016 and has a duration of four years. It is part of the Horizon2020 program, it is coordinated by Delphine Bourdon from the French Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (CEA).

Two interesting workshops will take place during SolarPACES 2016 Congress on October 13th. These workshops are part of the activities planned in the work packages WP3 and WP5 of the project STAGE-STE ( Basic information about these two workshops, which are specially aimed at the industrial sector, is given below:


- WP3 workshop: Thursday 13th October, from 15:00 to 17:00

- WP5 workshop: Thursday 13th October, from 17:00 to 19:00


People willing to attend any of these workshops are kindly asked to send an e-mail to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the following information for registration:


- Name

- Affiliation

- Workshop of interest


Information about the WP3 workshop:


- Title: Research infrastructure (RI) needs of the Solar Thermal Electricity (STE) sector.

- Objective: to get a clear picture of the RI needed by the STE sector to speed up the cost reduction trend required for a wide commercial deployment to meet the great potential of concentrating solar thermal technologies to become a significant player in the energy sector.

- Program: this workshop will start with a presentation of the results from recent surveys performed in several European projects concerning RI needs of the STE sector. Afterwards, an open discussion about the results from the surveys will be held with the participation of people attending the workshop and representatives of R+D centres and STE industry.


Information about the WP5 workshop:


Title: "IP transfer and relationship between industry and research in STE field" (maybe already proposed).

- Objective: to present the status of the relationship between industries and research centers in the STE sector in Europe.

- Program: the workshop will present the work performed on this subject by STAGE-STE partners.

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