The Institute of Solar Research of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), established in 2011, researches and develops Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) for solar thermal power plants that convert the sun’s energy into electricity, heat and fuels. DLR is the largest German research institution in this area and has a leading role in Europe and the world in the development and qualification of related technologies.
In addition, our scientists also conduct research in related areas: the sensor technology developed in the institute is used to determine the energetic renovation needs of buildings; the team for energy meteorology develops systems to optimise the operation of solar power plants and photovoltaic systems.
The directors of the institute are Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Robert Pitz-Paal and Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernhard Hoffschmidt. Its approximately 150 employees work at the DLR headquarters in Cologne, as well as in Stuttgart, Juelich and Almería / Spain.
Various laboratories and test facilities for experiments on an industrial scale are available to our scientific staff. The Juelich experimental solar thermal power plant is a unique facility in Germany. Its two solar towers contain four test chambers, where solar irradiation experiments can be carried out at the same time. In southern Spain, our researchers have access to the largest European test centre for concentrating solar technologies, the Plataforma Solar de Almería, owned and operated by the Spanish research centre CIEMAT.
While the more academic side of its work is mainly funded with grants from the programme-oriented funding scheme of the Helmholtz Association, application-oriented research is carried out in close cooperation with industry companies and is often financed by third parties.
The Institute of Solar Research seeks to build bridges between academic research, large-scale implementation, and industrial applications. So far, five companies have emerged from the institute that market and further develop the institute's technical innovations.