As interest for clean renewable electric power technologies grows, a number of parabolic trough power plants of various configurations are being considered for deployment around the globe. It is essential that plant designs be optimized for each specific application. The optimum design must consider the capital cost, operations and maintenance cost, annual generation, financial requirements, and time-of-use value of the power generated. Developers require the tools for evaluating tradeoffs between these various project elements. This paper provides an overview of a computer model that is being used by scientists and developers to evaluate the tradeoff between cost, performance, and economic parameters for parabolic trough solar power plant technologies. An example is included which shows how this model has been used for a thermal storage design optimization.

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