State-of-the-Art Low-Cost Solar Reflector Materials

    Research output: NRELTechnical Report


    Solar thermal technologies generate power by concentrating sunlight with large mirrors. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is working with industrial partners to develop the optical reflector materials needed for the successful deployment of this technology. The reflector materials must be low in cost and maintain high specular reflectance for extended lifetimes in severe outdoorenvironments. Currently, the best candidate materials for solar mirrors are silver-coated low-iron glass and silvered polymer films. Polymer reflectors are lighter in weight, offer greater flexibility in system design, and have the potential for lower cost than glass mirrors. In parallel with collaborative activities, several innovative candidate reflector-material constructions wereinvestigated at NREL. The low-cost material requirement necessitates manufacturing compatible with mass-production techniques. Future cooperative efforts with the web-coating industry offers the promise of exciting new alternative materials and the potential for dramatic cost savings in developing advanced solar reflector materials.
    Original languageAmerican English
    Number of pages14
    StatePublished - 1994

    NREL Publication Number

    • NREL/TP-471-7022


    • parabolic trough
    • silvered polymer
    • solar thermal concentrator system


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