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Huge parabolic mirrors catching the sun's rays could crisscross America's deserts soon, thanks to a breakthrough that may greatly lower the cost of solar power.

A small solar company has teamed with scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop massive curved sheets of metal that have the potential to be 30 percent less expensive than today's best collectors of concentrated solar power.

The SkyTrough Parabolic Trough Solar Concentrating Collectors will be longer than football fields and look like fun-house mirrors, but could be the game-changers in solar energy's bid to out-muscle gas and coal in providing electricity for America's homes.

The breakthrough recently was honored by R&D Magazine as one of the top 100 technical innovations of the year, and by the Federal Laboratory Consortium with a 2009 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award.

Solar power has been nipping at the heels of fossil fuels for decades, but hasn't yet found a way to be cost-competitive on a large scale.


For more NREL success stories visit http://www.nrel.gov/technologytransfer/succes_stories.html

Read More about this success story.

NREL and SkyFuel Partnership Reflects Bright Future for Solar Energy

National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Publication Date
Aug 3, 2009
Agreement Type
License, Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA)