Parabolic Trough Solar Power for Competitive U.S. Markets

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Nine parabolic trough power plants located in the California Mojave Desert represent the only commercial development of large-scale solar power plants to date. Although all nine plants continue to operate today, no new solar power plants have been completed since 1990. Over the last several years, the parabolic trough industry has focused much of its efforts on international market opportunities.Although the power market in developing countries appears to offer a number of opportunities for parabolic trough technologies due to high growth and the availability of special financial incentives for renewables, these markets are also plagued with many difficulties for developers. In recent years, there has been some renewed interest in the U.S. domestic power market as a result of anemerging green market and green pricing incentives. Unfortunately, many of these market opportunities and incentives focus on smaller, more modular technologies (such as photovoltaics or wind power), and as a result they tend to exclude or are of minimum long-term benefit to large- scale concentrating solar power technologies. This paper looks at what is necessary for large-scale parabolictrough solar power plants to compete with state-of-the-art fossil power technology in a competitive U.S. power market.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 1998
EventASME Renewable and Advanced Energy Systems for the 21st Century Conference - Maui, Hawaii
Duration: 11 Apr 199914 Apr 1999


ConferenceASME Renewable and Advanced Energy Systems for the 21st Century Conference
CityMaui, Hawaii

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-550-25798


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