Project MeQuSo - Methods for quality assessment of large scale solar thermal plants under real operating conditions



Operational conditions of collectors in the field differ from laboratory tests. Operators of solar thermal plants demand guaranteed minimum yield performances, as heat prices are agreed upon prior to plant constructions. To reduce the uncertainty of solar thermal collectors´ performances and to increase the planning reliability for constructors, current test methods and the actual operating conditions of collectors have to be reevaluated in the project MeQuSo.


Major objectives of the research project MeQuSo are (1) to develop In-situ methods to assess the actual energy output of large collector arrays, and, (2) to provide data on the thermal performance of the deployed collectors under operating conditions in the field. The developed methods are based on data gathered during plant operations, whereby high precision measurement equipment was installed. The tests will be conducted over a two year period to allow the evaluation of monthly, seasonal, and yearlong collector parameters. The acquired high quality measurement data to develop in-situ quasi-dynamic test methods will be in line with the EN ISO 9806:2013 quality standard, thereby extending the quasi-dynamic test method from single collectors to collector arrays.

The test plant is located close to a gas-fired district heating plant in Graz and offers the unique opportunity to study the performance of a total large scale solar thermal system. Six different collector types of five leading European manufacturers are installed over a gross collector area of 2,750m². Benefits for the SDH-community will be new methods to gain more accurate efficiency values, which will lead to a higher reliability of the expected solar yield and reduce economic risks of future installations.


Furthermore, new data on the dynamics of collector arrays will be a source for performance improvements of future collectors, collector fields, and solar thermal systems.

This research project is funded by the FFG. The test plant was sponsored by Pitagoras, EC and the Klima-und Energiefonds.


ffg KEF  frameworkpitagoras