SolarXY aims to reduce the cost of Solar Energy production in Solar Power plant through standardization of its components. SolarXY's vision is that the cost of solar plant will be reduced by making its components in standard and reduced size so that their manufacturing and installation can be automated.
A promising technology for Concentrated Solar Plants (CSP) makes use of tens of thousands of orientable mirrors (Heliostat), each one being driven by electric motors and electronically controlled in order to reflect the sun rays onto a central target positioned on a tower. The highly concentrated sun power on the target is then used to power standard steam or gas turbine for electrical power production.
At present, Central Tower plants use one central controller for a group of heliostat. Additionally, on each heliostat, is installed a local controller that activates the motors. The central controller calculates the ideal position of each heliostat as a function of time given by an astronomic clock and sends motion commands to each local controller of the group.
Main difficulty of this solution is that the exact position and orientation of each heliostat must be precisely measured and the data stored in the central controller. A large number of parameters must thus be fed, defining the position of the heliostat, the position of the tower, and the dimensions of the heliostat.
Measurement of all these parameters results in a long calibration work and can take months due to the high number (hundreds of thousands) of heliostats.
SolarXY is developing the "Heliomaster", a new concept of controller that will significantly reduce construction and installation costs of heliostats and heliostat field.
One Heliomaster is mounted on each heliostat, transforming the heliostat into an autonomous robot that automatically positions itself in order to reflect the sun rays onto the target. No calibration is needed, and the Heliostat becomes immediately operative after installation, whatever its position in the field.
The SolarXY team has a long experience in robotics, vision and motor controls.