Cologne, Germany: This new type of parabolic trough collector, “Ultimate Trough”, was designed especially for large solar fields with an aperture area of 50,000 to 2,500,000 m². The photo shows the prototype being measured.
Photo: Flabeg Holding GmbH

Competence of the German industry

Germany is the global leader in research into and development of this technology. As early as 1984 – 1991, German companies supplied the essential components – such as dishes and flexible pipe connections – for parabolic trough plants in California that are still in operation today, and have produced more than 17,000 GWh of electricity since then. Today, German manufacturers supply the core components for solar fields (for example, precision mirrors and solar receivers) and power-station units as well as the
necessary measurement and control technology, and thus have a large share of the global market. Besides this, German companies have an internationally acknowledged reputation as technology consultants, certification bodies and experts.

German engineering companies are also involved in the construction and operation of various pioneering projects either in terms of project management or through shareholdings. For example, a solar tower power plant with an electrical output of 1.5 MW has been operational at Jülich in Germany since the end of 2008. It is operated as a prototype power plant and research platform in the light of the long-standing experience of German research institutes and companies. Air is used as the heat carrier in a volumetric absorber. It also uses a storage system to compensate for fluctuations in the insolation input. The experience gained from building and operating this prototype power plant will form the basis for further optimisation in future projects.