Chapter 3: Solar Optics and Principles

Willem Landman, Guangdong Zhu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Solar irradiation originating from a finite-sized sun disc, as well as its various interactions with the atmosphere and reflective elements, results in the distribution of concentrated light at the receiver. The study of these interactions and the computation of the resulting flux distribution constitute the field of CSP optics. CSP optics is subdivided into two categories, namely, path-independent optics and geometric optics. This chapter deals primarily with the technology agnostic path-independent optics and attempts to convey some fundamental principles and to guide researchers. The path-independent optics introduced here includes sun shapes, the impact of surface microscopic and macroscopic structure, and atmospheric attenuation.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationHandbook of Solar Thermal Technologies: Concentrating Solar Power and Fuels
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1: Concentrating Solar Power - Principles and Applications
EditorsJ. H. Davidson, C. K. Ho
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-5700-79898


  • concentrating solar power
  • solar optics
  • solar thermal collectors


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