Manufacturing Cost Analysis of Advanced Parabolic Trough Collector: Preprint

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The research team performed a detailed bottom-up manufacturing cost estimate for an advanced parabolic trough design - the Solar Dynamics Sunbeam-MT (Sunbeam Mid-Term). This includes all components for manufacturing and assembly in a manufacturing facility (e.g. space frame and arms), and the purchased parts (e.g. mirrors and receiver tubes). Estimates of the construction and assembly activities have been made to then determine an estimated installed cost. Prior analysis has already undertaken detailed bottom-up manufacturing, assembly, and construction analysis for the Ultimate Trough from schlaich bergermann partner (sbp), and this work updates the solar field cost estimates based on a similar aperture area as the Sun Beam-MT. For this analysis, the Ultimate Trough is considered the commercial parabolic trough and the Sunbeam-MT as the advanced parabolic trough. For similarity, both the Sunbeam-MT and the Ultimate Trough have been modelled with a solar field with approximately 800,000 square meters (m2) in aperture area - the equivalent of a large CSP plant. The analysis has found a potential installed cost estimate of the Sunbeam-MT could be $120/m2 but must be built at scale to confirm this estimate. Compared to prior analysis, the commercial Ultimate Trough using U.S. conditions, has reduced in installed cost from $178/m2 to $152/m2. Both designs could be even cheaper with Chinese steel.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2021
Event26th SolarPACES Conference 2020 -
Duration: 28 Sep 20202 Oct 2020


Conference26th SolarPACES Conference 2020

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-7A40-83284 for paper as published in proceedings

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-6A20-77829


  • cost analysis
  • CSP
  • DFMA
  • manufacturing
  • parabolic trough collector


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