EERE's New Projects

Next-Generation Solar Collectors

Program Area 
Photovoltaic

Awardee Details

Awardee 
3M Company
State 
Minnesota

Funding

DOE Amount 
$4,900,000

Solar collectors represent the most expensive component of a CSP system. 3M Company is developing high-reflectivity films and high-rigidity structures that can replace current solar collectors that use heavy glass mirrors. The research team is creating a new set of technologies, including novel reflective films, reflector panels, space-frame structural elements, and adaptive optics

Objectives 
  • A 50% reduction in solar-field equipment cost
  • A 30% reduction in field installation cost
  • A 15% improvement in optical efficiency over existing heliostat designs with the potential to double solar-flux density.