Collectors—whether for trough, tower (heliostat), linear Fresnel or dish systems—comprise up to 40% of the total system costs for concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. The DOE SunShot CSP Program seeks to dramatically reduce the cost of the collector field while improving optical accuracy and ensuring durability. The SunShot Initiative funds research and development (R&D) on collector systems and related aspects within the industry, national laboratories and universities to achieve the following technical targets of collector subsystems toward the SunShot goals.
- Cost < $75/m2
- Optical error < 3 mrad
- Sustain wind speed > 85 mph
- Lifetime > 30 years
The R&D approaches toward these goals are broadly in the areas of:
- developing high optical accuracy reflectors
- reducing collector structure weight and material
- developing lean and rapid manufacture, assembly and installation methods
- developing highly efficient tracking and control methods as well as accurate metrology tools
- reducing soiling and water required for operations and maintenance.