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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2013, Article ID 523947, 7 pages
Research Article

New Strategies and Simulation Tools to Optically Design a Field of Heliostats

CNR-INO National Institute of Optics, Largo E. Fermi 6, 50125 Firenze, Italy

Received 30 October 2012; Accepted 1 February 2013

Academic Editor: Kalvala Srinivas Reddy

Copyright © 2013 Paola Sansoni et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A heliostats field is an array of mirrors concentrating the solar power on a receiver, typically placed on a tower. Our research experience in the optical design of heliostats fields for Concentrating Solar Power plants suggested using apposite simulation procedures, which were especially developed to simplify the reproduction of heliostats fields and to support in the analysis of the tower plant performances. Our most practically useful simulation tools are presented in this paper with exemplificative application results. The proposed strategies are addressed to solve specific problems and to evidence particularly crucial features. The main program facilitates the heliostats field analysis, exploiting the integration between our software code and Zemax. A side program permits to assess effects of seasonal and daily variations of solar irradiation. Another dedicated side code simplifies the selection of a Compound Parabolic Concentrator as secondary optics.