Project Name: Focusing Mirrors for Concentrating Solar Power
Funding Opportunity: Solar Energy Technologies Office Fiscal Year 2018 Funding Program (SETO FY2018)
SETO Team: Concentrating Solar Power
Location: Sacramento, CA
SETO Award Amount: $400,000
Awardee Cost Share: $100,000
Planned Timeline: 2019-2021

-- Award and cost share amounts are subject to change pending negotiations --

This project team is developing more effective mirrors for concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) plants. Mirrors that are curved into a dish shape, called focusing mirrors, are better at focusing and concentrating sunlight on a point than flat mirrors, improving plant efficiency. But focusing mirrors cost six times as much as flat mirrors, using traditional manufacturing techniques. The project team is investigating the application of light-focusing films to flat mirrors in CSP plants, which make them behave like focusing mirrors. If successful, this will reduce the cost of focusing mirrors by 75% and enable CSP plants to operate more efficiently.


The project team has developed a patented light-focusing film. When added to a flat mirror, it makes the mirror behave like a focusing mirror without altering the mirror’s shape. The film does not substantially reduce the mirror’s reflectivity and is very inexpensive to manufacture and apply using automated processes. The team aims to produce an operational pilot focusing mirror and an accompanying technical feasibility analysis.


This project aims to enable manufacturers to make focusing mirrors at 75% lower cost than existing focusing mirrors for CSP plants. If successful, this technology could apply to all types of CSP mirrors and could improve the performance of CSP plants.