Solar Living Lab


Dr. Fabio M. Montagnino phone nr.+39 091 6615654

ARCA, viale delle Scienze, edificio 16, 90128 Palermo - Country: Italy


SOLL LIVING LAB, in front of the premises of Consorzio ARCA, in Palermo, within the University campus, with its 3000 smq of extension, is the first pilot plant in Europe developed in urban settings, based on the concentrating mirrors technology, which is able to provide electricity, heat and cooling for multiple uses. The field is mainly devoted to the demonstration and testing of new solar components and technologies; it is open to all the citizens for visits, in order to let them access the site, receive explanations about the technologies applied and raise social challenges for which they would need solutions.

SOLL LIVING LAB has been realized with a mix of regional, national and European financial resources. Installed within a larger area under renovation as a city park, it has required the adoption of specific solutions to minimize the impact on the urban environment and in an area of archeological and natural interest. Some components derive from RTD activities involving regional SMEs participating into the supply chain. It has been meant to move research results and innovation out of university labs and make them visible and easily accessible to people, thanks to the demonstrative plant.


Expertise of the Living Lab

SOLL LIVING LAB practitioners can make available their expertise gained over the past five years to stimulate knowledge transfer in small scale solutions and multi generative solar systems suitable for the urban environment which integrate and optimize advanced technologies. The Lab provides also a unique testbed for testing and tuning systems through the team work of professionals from the research, professional and industrial world.


SOLL LIVING LAB benefits from a network of competence developed in Sicily around R&D projects, including research centres, mechatronic and optical industries, software and automation developers, engineering and construction companies, spin-off companies in the fields of PV, geothermal energy, wind power, sustainable solar desalination, innovative CHP. All the facilities in the lab can be used with the technical assistance of specialized staff in mechanics, electronics, materials, process management,industrial design, FEM Simulation, electronic design, firmware development, assembly and testing of prototypes, supporting the whole process starting from the definition of component physical behavior, until the choice of materials, the configuration study and the parties interaction, the optimization and testing.


Thematic area

Renewable energy



SOLL LIVING LAB management takes advantage from a consolidated public/private approach. It is based on a new vision of energy transition, making the theme of the solar energy more attractive and accessible to a wide audience and increasing communities engagement and stakeholders commitment on clean and cost-effective energy technologies, exchanging knowledge with the research and business systems.

The site works as an ‘educational lab’, serving both the academic community and the productive system for the co-design and testing of innovative small scale energy solutions for the urban environment, collaborating with other EuroMediterranean twinned infrastructures, experimenting the same integration of technologies from the solar sources with different level of optimization and customized technical choices on climatic conditions and settlement requirements.

Attention has been paid to the educational and training component, enabled by an open innovation and elearning platform, and to an energy awareness raising campaign, with its highlight in the SunMed Festival in 2016.



SOLL LIVING LAB integrates several technologies and advanced systems such as: CSP, molten salt storage, ORC, Solar cooling, HCPV, PV, membrane desalination. The facilities and the equipment available in the ARCA Fabbrica are also made available to the users, including: the mechatronics workshop, with the digital fabrication and rapid prototyping laboratory, the electronics laboratory, the mechanical laboratori, the IT lab, including machinery for processing metal, measuring scientific instruments, equipment for the shared design and production assistance (CAD/CAM/CAE); the graphic and multimedia lab to realize advanced multimedia tools, 3D reconstructions, graphics and technical digital printing, equipped with A0 plotters, scanners, 3D laser capture systems, video cameras.

Projects Living Lab is working on or has worked on:

STS-Med (ENPI CBC MED funding),
ZERO-PLUS (Horizon 2020),
SMART GEMS (Horizon 2020),
FRESCO (ERDF 2007-2013)