Overview

The sun peaks over the eastern crest of the Sandia mountains, bathing the high desert in the soft sunlight of a cool dawn. As the morning chases the shadows of night away, a concrete monolith emerges from the darkness; tall and distinct in the sparse desert, surrounded by its own sparkling constellation glistening in the morning light. This is the National Solar Thermal Test Facility, or as it’s more simply known, the Solar Tower. The tower and the surrounding facilities are one of the only places in the world where the power of the sun is harnessed to test advanced materials, perform research, and bake cookies. Industry partners and other national labs come here to explore cutting-edge technologies for electricity, processing heat, energy storage, materials testing, and to find large scale solutions for the adoption of Concentrating Solar Power as a viable source of renewable energy. While the massive, 200-foot tower and its field of mirrors (known as heliostats) is the most identifiable feature, the facility also features a solar furnace, a molten salt test loop, optics lab, dish test facility, robotic testing facility, and more. The Solar Tower is a unique and fascinating facility with capabilities not found anywhere else in the world.

 

Resources

Solar Tower Website
Solar Tower Anniversary

 

 


(Sandia employees only)