Current systems for extraction of solar energy fall into four basic categories,
The first two categories utilise low-grade direct solar radiation and are therefore not efficient. They also tend to be quite expensive per square meter. Both categories are in practical use.
Trough concentrators are used in the majority of current concentrated solar power installations. They are much cheaper than the parabolic dishes and more efficient than the direct methods. The concentration factors available limit the peak temperatures to around 200°C.
A parabolic dish is the most efficient concentrator, and with existing designs the most expensive. These concentrators are used primarily for high temperature applications such as Stirling Engines for electricity generation.
The Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST) maintains a detailed list of many solar power systems from passive flat panel water heaters to concentrator based power and heat generating facilities. In each case the cost per square foot of the installed system is quoted. These costs are typically in the region of $30 per square foot (or $300 per square meter) for parabolic trough systems and anything up to $200 per square foot ($2000 per square meter) for other systems.
Parabolic trough systems are the cheapest concentrator systems currently on the market, however they are capable of only quite modest temperatures. For high temperature applications the only existing solution is a large array of steerable parabolic mirrors. Such systems can easily cost $2000 per square meter to assemble, maintenance is also expensive.
From this it is clear that if the directable mirror arrays can be built for an end user price of $100 per square meter or less they will be extremely competetive in the solar energy market. Providing the capabilities of the most expensive systems at one third the price of the cheapest.
Australian patent no. 722115, US Patent no. 6227673, Patent pending Europe
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Estimated Manufacturing Costs