Albuquerque NM United States
Operated by Sandia National Laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF) is the only test facility of this type in the United States. The NSTTF’s primary goal is to provide experimental engineering data for the design, construction, and operation of unique components and systems in proposed solar thermal electrical plants planned for large-scale power generation.The site was built and instrumented to provide test facilities for a variety of solar and non-solar applications. The facility can provide high heat flux and temperatures for materials testing or aerodynamic heating simulation large fields of optics for astronomical observations or satellite calibrations solar furnace rotating platform for parabolic trough evaluation.HistoryNational Solar Thermal Test Facility During the late 1970s, rising fuel costs and the demand for a cleaner environment gave impetus to advance technology which used solar energy to create electricity. Studies identified the central receiver concept as having high potential to generate electricity on a large scale. The United States government initiated support through the National Science Foundation Research Applied to National Needs (RANN) program in 1972 which was eventually funded by the Energy Research and Development Administration and the Department of Energy. Six central receiver pilot plants were constructed including the 5 MW (thermal) test facility at Sandia National Laboratories.