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Fakultät für Elektrotechnik und Informationstechnik
P. Schwarzbözl, I. Miadowicz, D. Maldonado Quinto, J. Golembiewski, P. Jörke, T. Faulwasser and C. Wietfeld

5G as Communication Platform for Solar Tower Plants

  • Pascal Jörke
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Wietfeld
  • Publications
  • 5hine


In 2023 SolarPACES, Sydney, Australia, October 2023.


Wiring of heliostat fields for solar tower plants is a cost factor that becomes more important as the overall cost target is decreasing. Wireless heliostats with radio communication and autarchic energy supply have therefore been proposed in the past. But none of the communication solutions investigated so far could realistically scale to commercial size plants with tens of thousands of heliostats. Moreover, the digitalization of CSP plants with numerous mobile and stationary sensor systems requires a suitable data communication, too. The new generation of mobile radio communication (5G) is capable of handling the heterogenous communication profile portfolio comprising large numbers of units with low data rates – like heliostats - and few units with very large data volume – like e.g. drone-based camera systems. The communication requirements of a typical solar tower installation are assessed in this work and a data traffic model is created for the most relevant communication channels. The various existing 5G implementations are assessed to find the most suitable solution. Different operator models for 5G are considered and their applicability in CSP target countries is discussed. A simulation test case is presented that models the radio communication traffic of a heliostat field control during a cloud passage. Finally, the experimental 5G campus network is introduced that is currently installed at the Solar Tower Jülich research plant and will be operated in the upcoming months to demonstrate the technical feasibility of 5G radio for communication in solar fields.