This website has been developed and is being maintained on behalf of ESFRI by the StR-ESFRI project which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement n° 654213
A coordination effort on concentrating solar thermal and solar chemistry technologies
The European SOLAR Research Infrastructure for Concentrated Solar Power (EU-SOLARIS) is a distributed Research Infrastructures that aims to achieve a real coordination of Research and Technology Development (RTD) capabilities and efforts in Concentrating Solar Power/Solar Thermal Energy (CSP/STE) technologies by the European Research Centres. EU-SOLARIS will become the reference for CSP/STE and maintain Europe at the forefront of these technologies by providing the most complete, high quality scientific portfolio and facilitating the access of researchers to highly specialised facilities via a single access point. EU-SOLARIS will link scientific communities and industry and speed up the development of research and innovation due to a closer collaboration model, knowledge exchange management and a wider dissemination of results. It will increase the efficiency of the economic and human resources required to achieve excellence and provide efficient resources management to complement research and avoid redundancies.
EU-SOLARIS was included in the ESFRI Roadmap 2010 and started the Implementation Phase in 2018 with expected start of operations in 2020.
Concentrating Solar Power/Solar Thermal Energy (CSP/STE) technologies are expected to become a considerable supplier of green energy throughout the world. When Concentrating Solar Technologies are deployed with thermal energy storage, they can provide a dispatchable source of renewable energy. EU-SOLARIS is aiming at creating a new legal entity to explore and implement new and improved rules and procedures for European experimental facilities for CSP/STE technologies, in order to optimize their use and Research and Technology Development (RTD) coordination. It is expected to be the first of its kind, where industrial needs will play a significant role and private funding will complement public funding. EU-SOLARIS is envisioned as a distributed large-scale RI with a strong central node in Spain (the CSP/STE RIs of CIEMAT-PSA) and additional facilities in Cyprus (CYI), France (CNRS), Germany (DLR), Greece (CRES, APTL), Italy (ENEA), Portugal (LNEG, U.EVORA), and Turkey (GÜNAM and SELCUK U). Partnership includes also the industrial sector as a main actor on the decision-making processes leading to the definition, development, siting and implementation of future CSP/STE experimental facilities and as a prominent user of most, if not all, experimental facilities included under the umbrella of EU-SOLARIS.
Due to a number of reasons, including a market failure in access to finance and unfavourable framework conditions, no new plants have been built in Europe since 2013, whereas more than 20 have been built or approved in third countries - in many cases still with participation of EU companies. Without innovation in the EU market, it is difficult for EU companies to offer technology references on their technology advances when competing for contracts abroad. Therefore, reactivating innovation in Europe is crucial for EU companies to keep their global competitive edge thanks to cheaper technologies, progress in the learning curve and economies of scale. And in this framework EU-SOLARIS will have an important role to play.
After the Preparatory and the Interim Phases, EU-SOLARIS is now in the Implementation Phase with operations expected to start in 2020. The Internal Law, Governance model, Access rules and procedures, Business Plan, policy for Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Rights management, dissemination and outreach plans, list of services to be provided have been prepared during the Preparatory Phase by a consortium composed of 13 research institutions plus the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) and the European Solar Thermal Electricity industry Association (ESTELA). The participation of the various non-RTD stakeholders, such as national and regional governments, renewable energy agencies and other funding bodies, was channelled through an Advisory Board for Funding and Administration. The legal form chosen by the consortium for the Operation Phase of EU-SOLARIS during the Preparatory Phase has been the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC): seven MS/AC already signed a letter of intents to become Members of the EU-SOLARIS ERIC.
Plataforma Solar de Almeria - CIEMAT