Solar tracking using beam-steering lens arrays

Håkon J.D. Johnsen, Jan Torgersen, Astrid Aksnes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Conventional tracking solar concentrators track sunlight by rotating the concentrator optics to face the sun, which adds to the cost and bulk of the system. Beam-steering lens arrays, in contrast, allow solar tracking without bulk rotation of the optics. It consists of lens arrays stacked in an afocal configuration, and tracking is implemented by relative translation between these lens arrays. In this work, we present a phase-space methodology for analyzing and optimizing the performance of the beam-steering, and for revealing optical aberrations in the system. Using this methodology, we develop a beam-steering lens array with simulated -70% efficiency across a two-axis ±40° tracking range, and a divergence of the outgoing beam of less than ±0.65°. We also present a functional small-scale prototype and demonstrate the feasibility of the concept for solar tracking. Beam-steering lens arrays can be placed in front of conventional concentrator optics and operated with little or no external tracking. This may enable low-cost robust concentrated solar power systems, and could also find other applications such as solar lighting and steerable illumination.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNonimaging Optics
Subtitle of host publicationEfficient Design for Illumination and Solar Concentration XV
EditorsEli Yablonovitch, Roland Winston
ISBN (Electronic)9781510620872
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventNonimaging Optics: Efficient Design for Illumination and Solar Concentration XV 2018 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 19 Aug 201820 Aug 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceNonimaging Optics: Efficient Design for Illumination and Solar Concentration XV 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • Beam-steering
  • Lens arrays
  • Micro-tracking
  • Phase space
  • Solar tracking


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