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SolarPILOT Feature Requests and Collaboration

NREL works with the DOE to identify priority areas for continued SolarPILOT and SolTrace development. This work is rigorously reviewed and competitively awarded under the multiyear proposal development process, and the development work resulting from this process reflects the assessment by NREL and DOE of the CSP community's needs.

As of March 2018, SolarPILOT is also available as an open source project. While not every project benefits from an open source approach, several factors influenced this decision. Funding for development of SolarPILOT can’t always keep pace with evolving CSP technology, and opening up the software for general contribution allows specialized users to adapt the tool for their needs. Several different tools for power tower layout and optimization have been developed in the past, but lack of availability has, in some cases, prevented widespread adoption of a common platform. Open source code offers both widespread availability and full transparency, which encourages adoption of existing tools, rather than continual development of new and competing software tools. Lastly, many SolarPILOT users are themselves adept programmers and have much to offer in power tower layout, optimization, and characterization modeling. We encourage potential contributors to visit the NREL SolarPILOT Github page for more information. If users are interested in working with NREL outside of the open source project to develop additional features or provide support for using SolarPILOT, please contact the SolarPILOT support team.

Below are several recently added features.

  • Significantly reduced run time for SolTrace simulations with large numbers of heliostats by 95% or greater.
  • Improved API functionality
  • Cross-platform support (OSX, Linux)
  • Support for scripting using SAM's LK scripting language.

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