An 800 meter long row of the improved Skal-ET collectors was installed in an existing parabolic trough power plant in California within the scope of the Skal-ET project for test purposes. The key focus of the Skal-ET project was the improvement of the parabolic trough collector support structures which are especially effective and economical to produce in comparison to the technology used previously. The fact that the new support structure design has a higher degree of rigidity and is therefore much more robust in strong wind means that a higher degree of optical precision can be achieved. Furthermore, the collector units can be built 50% longer which means cost savings for the drive elements. Overall, these innovations mean reductions in investment and operating costs.
Commercial operation demonstrated an approximate 10 percent performance increase with the new collectors as compared to the design used previously, when compared directly in continuous operation. The construction and operation of these parabolic troughs with a 4,350 square meter mirror surface provides clear proof of the abilities of Solar Millennium and its subsidiaries in terms of detailed planning, specification, and construction supervision. The new technology has since been put into use in Solar Millennium power plant projects and is being further developed and optimized simultaneously.
The Skal-ET project has contributed to Solar Millennium becoming a market leader in parabolic trough technology as none of our competitors to date have been able to offer commercially proven technology. The success of the Skal-ET project was also a key condition for the project-specific bank financing for the Spanish Andasol projects.