A prototype direct absorption central receiver, called the solid particle receiver (SPR), was built and evaluated on-sun at power levels up to at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM. The SPR consists of a 6 m tall cavity through which spherical sintered bauxite particles are dropped and directly heated with concentrated solar energy. In principle, the particles can be efficiently heated to a temperature in excess of , well beyond the stability limit of existing nitrate salt formulations. The heated particles may then be stored in a way analogous to nitrate salt systems, enabling a dispatchable thermal input to power or fuel production cycles. The focus of this current effort was to provide an experimental basis for the validation of computational models that have been created to support improved designs and further development of the solid particle receiver. In this paper, we present information on the design and construction of the solid particle receiver and discuss the development of a computational fluid dynamics model of the prototype. We also present experimental data and model comparisons for on-sun testing of the receiver over a range of input power levels from . Model validation is performed using a number of metrics including particle velocity, exit temperature, and receiver efficiency. In most cases, the difference between the model predictions and data is less than 10%.