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Parabolic Trough Systems Integration

Photo of a technician checking a parabolic trough collector.

A technician checks a parabolic trough collector at Kramer Junction in Boron, California.
Credit: Sandia National Laboratories Photo Database

NREL develops system integration software tools for evaluating parabolic trough technologies and assessing concentrating solar power program activities. This includes models for evaluating:

  • Collector optics and thermal performance
  • Plant process design and integration tools
  • Annual performance and economic assessment
  • Capital, and operation and maintenance (O&M) costs.

We're currently developing the following models and software tools:

  • VSHOT—an optical characterization tool originally developed to evaluate the shape or slope error of parabolic dish concentrators—for use with parabolic trough concentrators
  • LFOCS—a tool used to qualitatively evaluate the alignment of the mirrors and receivers of a parabolic trough concentrator
  • Models and tools for assessing all parabolic trough R&D activities.

To learn more about NREL's evaluation tools for concentrating solar power systems, see information on our modeling and analysis capabilities.

Visit TroughNet for more resources on parabolic trough system and component testing.