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SolarPACES History

SolarPACES played a formative role in CSP research from the very earliest days beginning in 1977, and the role has widened as the market for dispatchable solar has become more defined to today’s commercial deployment at full-scale.

International Energy Agency (IEA) activities in the field of solar thermal power and chemical energy systems began in 1977 with the signing of an agreement for the “Small Solar Power Systems” (SSPS) Project by Austria, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

Together the SSPS team implemented the first brave step – Stage 1 – with the design of two 500 kWe rated net output solar thermal power plants. They went on to construct and operate two plants in Almeria in southern Spain as Stage 2 of the programme.

Stage 3 consisted of R&D tasks, concentrating mostly on storage, receivers, solar fuels and Dish/Stirling systems.  After the SPSS Project successfully passed an IEA Renewable Energy Working Party (REWP) review in 1990, several of the member countries went on to develop plans for a Stage 4 of the Project, which at that time changed its name to SolarPACES – Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems.

Following a successful REWP review in May 1996, it was recommended to continue the Programme for another 5-year period until 2001. This was decided by the IEA Governing Board on June 19, 1996. Since that time, successive five year terms have been approved, with the scope of the research widening as market needs have changed.

Biannual Executive committee meetings extend back to 1997

The SolarPACES Executive Committee or the ExCo is responsible for control and supervision of the SolarPACES Program as a whole. Individual members of the Executive Committee represent their national Contracting Party.

Task Representative or TRs are the central coordinators of the research for each of the research tasks. The SolarPACES Secretariate or the ExSec is responsible for communications between the members of the ExCo, between the ExCo and Operating Agents, and relations between the SolarPACES Program and the IEA, governments, international bodies and relevant media.