EU-funded Projects

ESTELA is a partner in the following EU-funded projects:

MUSTEC – Market Uptake of Solar Thermal Electricity

MUSTEC was launched in October 2017 and is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 program. MUSTEC’s aim is to explore and propose concrete solutions to overcome the barriers that hinder the deployment of solar thermal electricity (STE) and concentrated solar power (CSP) projects in Southern Europe which are capable of supplying renewable electricity on demand to Central and Northern Europe. The project idea is built around a distinct time period multidisciplinary analysis, on the Past (Previous cooperation initiatives and experiences from historical CSP development), Present (Current structural constraints and push factors for CSP deployment in regulatory, policy and market environment) and Future (Potential futures and possible scenarios are explored).


Project Website:

Project Duration: 36 Months (Oct 2017 – Sept 2020)

SMARTSPEND – more and better designed public support for energy technology Research & Innovation

SMARTSPEND will explore how investments in R&D in clean energy can be made in a coordinated way and how they may be increased.
Many energy technologies are trying to answer similar R&D questions. There may be ways to sequence research in different sectors to enable its impact to be increased. SMARTSPEND will report on the synergies in different technologies’ R&D plans, and on the ways that sectors should organise themselves to access EU funding efficiently.
SMARTSPEND will organise a major conference to help innovators in clean energy access risk finance from public and private sources. They need money and connections to scale up. To prepare the conference, SMARTSPEND will report the funding needs and identify possible sources.
Subscribe here to stay informed about SMARTSPEND news & events.

Project Website:

Project Duration: 36 Months (Dec 2018 – Nov 2021)

SFERA-III – Solar Facilities for the European Research Area 3

The SFERA-III project addresses advanced science challenges and integrated research activities in the field of Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) by integrating key European research infrastructures into an ambitious wide project aiming at offering to the R&D community a new level of high-quality services.

In this context, the main European research institution operating a unique set of Research Infrastructures (RIs) in CST are coordinating efforts to promote innovative researches, to improve services offered by concentrating solar RIs and to train researchers and engineers on the CST technologies. Both academia and industry users are targeted. These RIs will be open to all European researchers as part of the transnational access activities, from both academia and industry, and attention will be paid to ensure their optimal use and joint development avoiding duplication of the services offered.

A series of networking activities has been set up to reinforce and extend the partnership of the RIs participating in the proposal, including outreach and educational activities for new European researchers; activities to accelerate the transfer of knowledge between the participants, e.g. organisation of doctoral colloquia and the winter/summer schools, workshops and exchange of scientific personnel, etc…

In addition, the joint research activities (JRAs) are planned to increase the research capacities and services of the RIs and to improve the existing ones, in such a way that the researches can be extended in number and in quality. This improved infrastructures and services will surely attract an increased number of new users, thus contributing to the overall goals of this SFERA-III project.

Project Website:

Project Duration: 60 Months (Jan 2019 – Dec 23)

HORIZON-STE – Implementation of the Initiative for Global Leadership in Solar Thermal Electricity


HORIZON-STE is a Horizon2020 funded project aiming at supporting the Implementation of the Initiative for Global Leadership in Solar Thermal Electricity (STE), also known as Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), which was launched by the European Commission and adopted within the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET Plan) of the European Commission.


For more than a decade, Europe’s Solar Thermal Electricity sector has become a worldwide technology leader. But the further deployment has been hindered in Europe since 2013 mostly due to retroactive changes in the investment conditions in Spain. To unlock this situation, the European Commission has launched a dedicated Initiative – Initiative for Global Leadership in Concentrated Solar Power focusing on 2 targets: a cost reduction target and an innovation target, in order to keep STE/CSP’s global technology leadership and rebuild a home market in Europe.


Subscribe here to stay informed about HORIZON-STE news & events.

Project Website:

Project Duration: 42 Months (April 2019 – September 2022)

SOLARSCO2OL: SOLAR based sCO2  Operating Low-cost plants


SOLARSCO2OL, a new H2020-funded project, will look into development and demonstration of critical components for facilitating the near-term deployment of cost-effective hybrid PV-CSP plants using supercritical CO2 cycles. Over the next 48 months, the project will work towards the demonstration of a first-of-kind MW scale sCO2 cycle operating from molten salts in an existing CSP plant, for which a new MW-scale molten salt electric heater will also be developed.

The 15-partner consortium is led by RINA Consulting and KTH, with participation from ESTELA, 3 other research centres (UNIGE, Ikerlan and CERTH), and 9 prominent industries from the CSP and turbomachinery sectors (Abengoa, Magtel, Masen, SEICO, Lointek, MAS Europe, Baker Hughes, Franco Tosi Meccanica, and OCMI OTG).

Stay tuned about the development of this project!

Project Website:

Project Duration: 48 Months (Oct 2020 – Sept 24)



EU-SOLARIS aims to achieve a real coordination of Research and Technology Development (R&D) capabilities and efforts in Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) technologies by the European Research Centres, along with those from the neighbouring countries, in order to foster the technological development of the Industry.
The EU-SOLARIS vision is to further assist the Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) and Solar Chemistry technologies’ deployment by enhancing the research infrastructures development and Research and Technology Development (R&D) coordination. EU-SOLARIS is expected to be the first of its kind, where industrial needs and private funding will play a significant role.
Project Website:

STAGE-STE – Scientific and Technological Alliance for Guaranteeing the European Excellence in Concentrating Solar Thermal Energy


This Integrated Research Programme (IRP), funded by the EC’s FP7 Programme, engages all major European research institutes with relevant and recognised activites on Solar Thermal Electricity (STE) and related technologies, in an integrated research structure plus relevant industrial and international organisations.

  • Convert the consortium into a reference institution for concentrating solar energy research in Europe, creating a new entity with effective governance structure;
  • Enhance the cooperation between EU research institutions participating in the IRP to create EU added value;
  • Synchronize the different national research programs to avoid duplication and to achieve better and faster results;
  • Accelerate the transfer of knowledge to industry in order to maintain and strengthen the existing European industrial leadership in STE;
  • Expand joint activities among research centres by offering researchers and industry a comprehensive portfolio of research capabilities, bringing added value to innovation and industry-driven technology;
  • Establish the European reference association for promoting and coordinating international cooperation in concentrating solar energy research.

Project Website:

SFERA 2 – Solar Facilities for the European Research Area


Concentrated solar power (CSP) is a very promising renewable source of energy. The best known application so far is bulk electricity generation through thermodynamic cycles, but other applications have also been demonstrated, such as production of hydrogen and solar fuels, water treatment and research in advanced materials.
This EU-funded research project – SFERA – aims to boost scientific collaboration among the leading European research institutions in solar concentrating systems, offering European research and industry access to the best research and test infrastructures and creating a virtual European laboratory. The project incorporates the following activities:
– Transnational Access: Researchers will have access to five state-of-the-art high-flux solar research facilities, unique in Europe and in the world. Access to these facilities will help strengthen the European Research Area by opening installations to European and partner countries’ scientists, thereby enhancing cooperation.
– Networking: These include the organisation of training courses and schools’ to create a common training framework, providing regularised, unified training of young researchers in the capabilities and operation of concentrating solar facilities. Communication activities will seek to both strengthen relationships within the consortium, creating a culture of cooperation, and to communication to society in general, academia and especially industry what SFERA is and what services are offered.
– The Joint Research Activities aim to improve the quality and service of the existing infrastructure, extend their services and jointly achieve a common level of high scientific quality.

Project Website:

KnowRES – Knowledge Centre For Renewable Energy Jobs


KnowRES provides job intelligence to industry, candidates and academic and training institutions, while performing an analysis of the skills needed by the industry to ensure that the provided education and training courses are tailor-made to the sectors’ needs.
Recruiting and retaining qualified staff is one of the challenges facing many industries and the STE sector is no exception. For the past few years, the skills gaps and shortage of engineers have been widely reported. But which specific profiles are currently in demand, where to find the gem companies are looking for and how to retain the qualified staff remain hot topical issues.
The objectives of the survey research consist in mapping the STE Energy job market by identifying the 10 most wanted profiles as well as current available competences via a candidate survey.
  • If you are a company interested in knowing what profiles are currently available on the market or looking for talents and/or wishing to share your view on the employment situation, please take 5’ to participate in the survey here (or forward the link to your HR colleagues)
  • If you are a candidate looking for new challenges, please take part in the survey here

An expert meeting on the solar thermal electricity job market was held in the University of Perpignan on the 29th March 2016. Find presentations here.

The final product from this project is the Jobs Barometer on Renewable Energy:

► Solar Thermal Electricity Sector Report: Download

Project Website:

SolarCV: Sector Skills Alliance to cover skill needs through delivery and recognition of EU joint CV in Concentrated Solar Power

solar-cv-cmykSolarCV is a project funded by European Commission under the Erasmus+ programme. It aims at increasing the response of Vocational Education Training (VET) systems by anticipating the Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) labour demand, integrating work-based learning (WBL) in the design of CSP VET and increasing mobility of EU CSP learners, by the recognition of learning outcomes and by achieving qualifications.

SolarCV tools (Curriculum & Validation) are designed considering European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET) and European quality assurance in vocational education and training (EQAVET) European references, so the resulting products ensure a better understanding and comparability of qualifications across countries.


Project Website:

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Other EU-funded STE/CSP projects