Instrumentation and Methods for Optical Metrology of Heliostats

Case ID:

This technology solves the need to recognize and track the shape of adjustable and customizable heliostats by using a receiver fly eye lens, through which a metrology camera can quickly capture the beams of light coming through the array of apertures and determine their centroids and angles, therefore determining the shape and direction of the heliostat. The heliostat is then adjusted to maximize the system’s reflective efficiency and increasing the overall efficiency of the plant itself.

Concentrated solar power (CSP) is a method of generating power by using heliostats to direct the solar radiation to a tower. This typically heats molten salt, the thermal energy from which is used to power a steam turbine. One of the many challenges to using this method of power generation is channeling the solar energy in the most efficient way at all times of the day. This has required practitioners, including those at the University of Arizona, to create heliostats that can customize their shape to maximize solar radiation collection.

Solar power is difficult to harness consistently for a multitude of reasons, one of which is a lack of sunlight. Because the sun does not shine everywhere, it is imperative to create solar fields in places where the sun shines consistently and then maximize the efficiency when the sun is shining. Because of that, every efficiency increase brings the technology one step closer to competing with fossil fuels to power communities the world over.


  • Concentrated solar power


  • Inexpensive
  • Manage shapes in real time
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Richard Weite
Senior Licensing Manager, College of Optical Sciences
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Ryker Eads
James Angel