Assessment of Heliostat Control System Methods

    Research output: NRELMarketing


    Automatic control and communication between the major components in solar thermal central receiver systems is critically needed for the optimal and safe operation of these systems. This report assesses novel and cost-effective approaches to the control of the solar collector field and the communication with the central plant computer/control system. The authors state that radio frequency andcarrier-current communication approaches have the greatest potential to improve cost-effectiveness relative to the current dedicated control wiring approaches. In addition, based on their analysis, the authors recommend distributed control, which is becoming an industry-wide control standard, for the individual concentrators within the collector field rather than the current central computerapproach. The vastly improved cost and performance of microprocessors and other solid-state electronics, which has continually and rapidly proceeded for more than five years, is the major reason for these conclusions.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages42
    StatePublished - 1986

    Bibliographical note

    Work performed by John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas and University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/SP-253-2390


    • communications
    • computers
    • control
    • control systems
    • costs
    • data transmission
    • heliostats
    • RF systems
    • solar thermal power plants


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