DOE researchers to study wind impacts on concentrating solar power technology

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced a new effort to study the effects of high wind loads on concentrating solar power (CSP) plant technology.

NREL and the Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), both under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), will take two field measurements at wind developer Acciona Energy’s Nevada Solar One facility. Researchers will collect data involving turbulent wind impacts on the plant’s parabolic trough system.

CSP plants tend to be in open areas and are more likely to face high wind speeds without much protection. NREL officials said high wind loads increase design costs of CSP collector structures, like heliostats and parabolic troughs.

Previous studies on this topic have been done but not to scale, NREL officials said.

The data collected by researchers will be used to develop computer models to be made publicly available to the CSP community. The study is expected to take two years.