DLR - Institute of Solar Research - Point Focus Systems

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Research and Development


Point Focus Systems
(15. July 2015)

Solar tower at CIEMAT's  Plataforma Solar de Almería. Source: DLR/Markus-Steuer.de

In so called point focus systems the direct solar radiation is focused with mirrors on a point-like focal spot. Distinctions are made between two different technologies: solar tower and dish systems. The focus of research at DLR is on the development of solar tower systems and their components.

High Temperatures for High Efficiency

High system conversion efficiency of solar energy into electricity is essential for reducing levelized electricity costs (LCoE) in solar thermal power plants. The usage of solar energy in power plant processes at high temperatures leads to high efficiencies in the power block. For this purpose, highly concentrating solar systems are required that enable the generation of high temperatures combined with high receiver efficiency.

Solar Tower Systems

In power stations with a high power output, solar tower systems are employed in which numerous mirrors (called heliostats) that track the sun concentrate the solar irradiation on to the top of a tower. Located in the focal spot, a receiver collects the concentrated solar radiation and heats a medium to high temperatures. Leaving the receiver, this high-temperature heat is fed into a power plant process to produce steam for generating electricity.
Alternatively, the heat may also be used for thermal processes.

Animation: Operating mode of a solar tower plant









Main research areas and locations

The research and development works for Point Focus Systems are carried out at all three german sites of the institute, Cologne, Juelich, Stuttgart and at CIEMAT's Plataforma Solar de Almería in Spain:

Development of heliostat systems

Solar thermal receivers

System technology



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