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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 SunShot National Laboratory Multiyear Partnership (SuNLaMP) proposal development process, and the development work resulting from this process reflects the assessment by NREL and DOE of the CSP community's needs.

If users are interested in working with NREL to develop additional features or provide support for using SolarPILOT, please contact the SolarPILOT support team.

Below are the additional features being developed for 2016.

  • Significantly reduced run time for SolTrace simulations with large numbers of heliostats. Our research is targeting a reduction in run time of 95%.
  • Feature enhancements to the SolTrace engine to better integrate with SolarPILOT. These enhancements include:
    • Methods to preserve, interpret, and maximize the utility of ray data generated at each stage in the simulation
    • A simple model for atmospheric scattering
    • Improved technology-specific performance metrics
    • Useful simulation structures such as virtual elements and compound element geometries that ease the definition of receiver apertures and internal surfaces
    • Enabling a surface to emit infrared radiation
  • Improved API functionality
  • Cross-platform support (OSX, Linux)

Below are the additional features being developed for 2017.

  • Support for user-specified receiver and heliostat geometries. This enables evaluation of non-rectangular heliostats and receivers with more complex geometry than flat-plate or cylindrical.
  • Improved heliostat aim-point strategies. The work targets both the computational efficiency of the aiming algorithms and the uniformity of the resulting receiver flux distribution. Advanced aiming strategies will support multi-zone flux limitations.
  • Support for scripting using SAM's LK scripting language.
  • Improved plotting and data processing functionality. We plan to develop a widget that allows interactive simulation via a field plot interface such that individual heliostats or groups of heliostats can be evaluated and manipulated.

Download SolarPILOT or learn more about background of SolarPILOT.