The parabolic trough linear receiver is one of the primary reasons for the high efficiency of the Luz parabolic trough collector design used at the Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) plants. Experience from the SEGS plants has shown that the reliability and lifetime of the parabolic trough receiver tube is the most significant issue for existing and future parabolic trough plants. Although highly efficient, the original Luz receiver tubes experienced high failure rates (approximately 4% to 5% per year). Failures included vacuum loss, glass envelope breakage, and degradation of the selective coating. This paper reviews receiver failure rates, the primary failure causes at two of the SEGS plants, and discusses receiver technology developments during the last several years that focus on improving the reliability of parabolic trough receivers. Data are provided on the performance and reliability of a new commercially available trough receiver.

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