Improvements in Reflected Target Non-intrusive Assessment (ReTNA)

Research output: NRELPresentation


Accurate optical surfaces are a primary driver of concentrated solar power plant performance. Errors in pointing and tracking mirrors, the canting of individual mirror facets, and the surface slope of the mirror itself can be caused by errors during assembly, transportation, wind loading, gravity, and many other sources. The tools that exist to measure these error sources today largely rely on fringe deflectometry (SOFAST, QDec, others), or photogrammetry with targets attached to the mirror surface. In 2022, NREL presented a new indoor optical measurement system to measure fully assembled heliostats during development and on the assembly line for quality assurance purposes, which has undergone significant development in the last year, including the installation of a new, larger laboratory setup. This system, called ReTNA (Reflected Target Non-intrusive Assessment), uses a printed pattern as a deflectometry target. Using printed pattern features as deflectometry targets instead of fringes allows the software to measure the surface slope in two dimensions, eliminating the need to for changing, projected targets. In the last year, NREL's ReTNA tool has been adapted to use a tall, thin target, that only spans one dimension of the mirror, and a camera moving on an automatic track system. We will present these new developments, including the new setup, target patterns, software methodology for fast, automatic optical analysis, and important lessons learned throughout the process. ReTNA results will be compared to established tools, to establish the uncertainty of this new method. ReTNA leverages recent improvements in computer vision and photogrammetry to remove as much careful calibration from the setup process as possible, making the tool low cost, simple, and portable. While it will not achieve the resolution of a fringe deflectometry system, its advantages make it well suited for CSP evaluation, and allow it to fill a different industry need.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages24
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the ASME 17th International Conference on Energy Sustainability, 10-12 July 2023, Washington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5700-86027


  • concentrating solar power
  • deflectometry
  • metrology
  • optics
  • photogrammetry


Dive into the research topics of 'Improvements in Reflected Target Non-intrusive Assessment (ReTNA)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this