Standardized testing and rating procedures provide an equitable basis for comparing the performance of different types of solar thermal concentrators. The test results indicate opportunity for design improvements and provide a basis for selection of concentrators for various applications. Determination of thermal characteristic parameters and optical characteristics for the collector helps in determining the overall collector efficiency. The National Solar Thermal Test Facility being planned by IIT Bombay is the first of its kind in India and will prove to be a foundation for emerging CSP technology and related applications in the booming renewable energy industry in India. The facility hopes to encourage industrialists, researchers, technologists, academicians and investors to converge on solar thermal energy and endorse it as the dominant source of energy for utilization in the future. The details of the tests undertaken are mentioned in the following:
I. Thermal Efficiency Test Facility
The solar thermal test-rig has been designed fabricated and installed at the Solar Energy Centre. The currently installed test-rig is not connected to a solar thermal concentrating collector. The area for installation of the concentrating collector has been identified.
A flux mapping system has been designed and fabricated. The system has already been implemented on a parabolic trough collector at the Solar Energy Laboratory, IIT Bombay.
III. Indoor Testing
Indoor testing includes test receiver heat loss testing, contour mapping and mirror testing out of which the receiver heat loss testing rig has been designed and rest are in planning phase.