Optical fibers and solar power generation

Abraham Kribus*, Ory Zik, Jacob Karni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A study of the potential use of optical fibers for solar thermal power generation is presented. The main performance characteristics (numerical aperture and attenuation) and typical costs of currently available fibers are discussed. Several approaches to the application of fibers are presented, for centralized (tower, central receiver) and distributed (dish-engine) systems. The overall system design-point efficiency and overall system cost are estimated. A scaling relation between system size and the cost of the fiber component is identified, which severely limits the applicability of fibers to small systems only. The overall system cost for centralized systems is found to be higher than the currently competitive range, even under optimistic assumptions of mass production of major components. A significant reduction in fiber cost is required before the use of fibers for centralized solar power generation can become competitive. In distributed generation using dish/engine systems, however, the use of fibers does achieve competitive performance and costs, comparable to the costs for conventional dish systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-416
Number of pages12
JournalSolar Energy
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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