Development of Heliostat Field Calibration Methods

Theory and Experimental Test Results




Heliostat Field Calibration, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, UAV, Quadrocopter, Camera System, Camera Matrix, Optical Filter System, Central Camera, Spherical Markers, CRS, Heliostat


In this work, three patent pending calibration methods for heliostat fields of central receiver systems (CRS) developed by the Solar-Institut Jülich (SIJ) of the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences are presented. The calibration methods can either operate in a combined mode or in stand-alone mode. The first calibration method, method A, foresees that a camera matrix is placed into the receiver plane where it is subjected to concentrated solar irradiance during a measurement process. The second calibration method, method B, uses an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) such as a quadrocopter to automatically fly into the reflected solar irradiance cross-section of one or more heliostats (two variants of method B were tested). The third calibration method, method C, foresees a stereo central camera or multiple stereo cameras installed e.g. on the solar tower whereby the orientations of the heliostats are calculated from the location detection of spherical red markers attached to the heliostats. The most accurate method is method A which has a mean accuracy of 0.17 mrad. The mean accuracy of method B variant 1 is 1.36 mrad and of variant 2 is 1.73 mrad. Method C has a mean accuracy of 15.07 mrad. For method B there is great potential regarding improving the measurement accuracy. For method C the collected data was not sufficient for determining whether or not there is potential for improving the accuracy.


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How to Cite

Sattler, J. C., Schneider, I. P., Angele, F., Atti, V., Teixeira Boura, C., & Herrmann, U. (2024). Development of Heliostat Field Calibration Methods: Theory and Experimental Test Results. SolarPACES Conference Proceedings, 1.

Conference Proceedings Volume


Measurement Systems, Devices, and Procedures