A low cost high flux solar simulator
Author(s)Codd, Daniel S.; Carlson, Andrew T.; Rees, Jennifer; Slocum, Alexander H.
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A low cost, high flux, large area solar simulator has been designed, built and characterized for the purpose of studying optical melting and light absorption behavior of molten salts. Seven 1500 W metal halide outdoor stadium lights are used as the light source to simulate concentrating solar power (CSP) heliostat output. Metal halide bulbs and ballasts are far less costly per-watt than typical xenon arc lamp solar simulator light sources. They provide a satisfactory match to natural sunlight; although ‘unfiltered’ metal halide lights have irradiance peaks between 800 and 1000 nm representing an additional 5% of measured energy output as compared to terrestrial solar irradiance over the same range. With the use of a secondary conical concentrator, output fluxes of approximately 60 kW/m[superscript 2] (60 suns) peak and 45 kW/m[superscript 2] (45 suns) average are achieved across a 38 cm diameter output aperture. Unique to the design of this simulator, the tilt angle and distance between the output aperture and the ground are adjustable to accommodate test receivers of varying geometry. Use of off-the-shelf structural, lighting and electrical components keeps the fabrication cost below $10,000.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering
Codd, Daniel S. et al. “A Low Cost High Flux Solar Simulator.” Solar Energy 84.12 (2010) : 2202-2212.
Author's final manuscript