Heliostat Field

Building a CSP plant is capital intensive, but the operating and maintenance costs can be low, leading to a competitive levelized cost (LCOE). Large scale plants such as Gemasolar [see video] and Ivanpah [see video] are currently in operation, but to compete with fossil fuels, further cost reduction is needed [see SunShot vision study]. The components with the largest capital cost in a CSP plant are the solar collectors, which for power towers are heliostats (flat mirrors that move and track the sun). Heliostats comprise between 25-50% of the total capital investment of the plant and therefore decreasing their cost is critical to lowering the LCOE for CSP altogether [see Heliostat Cost Reduction Study]. Most of the heliostat cost is dedicated to the materials and installation of the supporting structure, which is often over designed for average conditions and is mainly designed to survive peak wind loads through the service life. A variety of different heliostat styles are used today and there is significant room for advancement and cost reduction, such as the design being pursued by Sunfolding.

Heliostat Field