SkyTrough solar power system launched

SkyFuel has introduced SkyTrough. The new offering is being described as "the highest performance, lowest cost utility-scale solar power system of any kind for generating electricity".

The system cuts the cost of the parabolic trough concentrator by 35 percent compared to other commercially available systems. It is 375 feet long, 20 feet tall, and features the largest parabolic trough modules ever built.

It was developed with the support of the US Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and with a grant from New Mexico Governor Bill Richardon's Energy Innovation Fund for SkyFuel's research partnership with the University of New Mexico.

The design features the use of ReflecTech Mirror Film, a low-cost, highly reflective and shatterproof silvered-polymer film, which in the SkyTrough is laminated to thin aluminum sheets to form light-weight, yet highly accurate mirror panels. The film cuts mirror costs by approximately 50 percent compared to the price of using glass. According to the company, the film can be manufactured at high volume.

The space frame is being described as another major advancement in parabolic trough design.

The all-aluminum tubular structure is 30 percent lighter per unit of mirror area than even the best of the previous utility-scale parabolic collectors, according to SkyFuel. The SkyTrough space frame has 40 percent fewer parts and requires no welding in the field, resulting in significantly faster construction time and reduced labor costs.