The concentrator prototype made use of the stretched membrane technique, which maintains the parabolic shape with a small vacuum pump. It has 94% reflectivity and can concentrate the sunlight up to 12,000 times in its 12‑cm-diameter focus. It has a focal distance of 4.5 meters and polar solar tracking. Two DISTAL I units were disassembled in the year 2000 and replaced by third generation EUROdish units.

In operation since 1992, this installation initially consisted of 3 7.5‑m-diameter parabolic dish units capable of collecting up to 40 kWt energy with a SOLO V160 9‑kWe Stirling motor located in its focal zone.

A DISTAL I dish in operation