Advanced Optical Materials for Concentrating Solar Power
NREL works to develop durable, low-cost optical materials for concentrating solar power systems. These optical materials—which reflect, absorb, and transmit solar energy—play a fundamental role in the overall cost and efficiency of all concentrating solar power systems.
Today, the solar collectors used in concentrating solar power systems account for approximately 50% of the total capital cost of power plants. The solar reflector costs for these systems represent about 30% of the collector cost. To reduce the costs of solar collectors, NREL focuses on improving the stability of selective coatings at higher temperatures for use on optical materials.