SolarReserves Crescent Dunes CSP Project, near Tonopah, Nevada, has an electricity generating capacity of 110 MW. Photo from SolarReserve

Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provide scientific, engineering, and analytical expertise to advance innovation in concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies.

These technologies capture sunlight to produce heat that drives today's conventional thermoelectric generation systems or future advanced generation systems. The unique feature of CSP is the ability to store heated material in an inexpensive and efficient thermal energy storage system. The stored thermal energy can be tapped between sunset and sunrise or during cloudy weather to provide renewable electricity on demand. In addition to providing electricity, CSP technologies are also moving into emerging markets that include process heat, solar fuels, and desalination.

NREL plays a critical role in CSP research by coupling a wide range of capabilities, supported by facilities and tools, with an expert staff having almost 200 person-years of CSP-related experience. The bottom line is that NREL's technical resources and experts cover the breadth of capabilities valued by the CSP community.

Our Partners

We collaborate with a host of companies and institutions, both domestically and internationally, in various work arrangements (see Work With Us).

  • Industry partners
  • University researchers
  • Business start-ups/entrepreneurs
  • National laboratories
  • International scientific organizations
  • Power utilities.