The PSA is recognised as a Major European Scientific Facility. The IEA began its construction in 1979, and in 1986 it became part of the Institute for Renewable Energies of CIEMAT, a Public Research Body administered by the State. It is located in the southeast of Spain, in the Tabernas Desert, at 37º05’27.8” north and 2º21’19” west. It receives an annual direct exposure to sunlight of over 1900 kWh/m2, making it a privileged location for experimentation with solar energy systems.
The PSA is the largest research centre in Europe devoted to concentrated solar radiation technologies, desalatation and fotochemistry. It is a privileged place for the development, evaluation, demonstration, and transfer of solar concentrating technologies, both for thermal applications and for chemical processes. It offers researchers and companies scientific facilities that are among the most advanced and comprehensive in the world, along with sunlight and climate characteristics similar to those of many countries in the so-called “Sunbelt” (located between latitudes 40 north and 35 south).
PSA hosts large test facilities that include central receiver systems withan output of up to 5 MWt, a field of parabolic trough collectors up to 2.5-MWt, a test bench for parabolic trough collectors with a length of up to 20 m, several solar furnaces (the greater with a total power of 60 kWt), a desalination pilot plant 3 m3/h and a photochemical pilot plant with a capacity of up to 500 L.
The Plataforma Solar de Almería offers a wide range of services befitting its international importance, allowing for the study of multiple aspects of concentrated solar technology, such as thermal and thermodynamic characterization of distinct elements of solar receptors, the characterization of materials for these elements, the qualification of new processes or testing, modelling, and simulation of thermosolar production plants.