The 1 MW Saguaro solar parabolic trough power plant began operation in December 2005. The plant will initially operate without an energy storage system. However, recent studies predict a thermocline-type storage should be the most cost-effective storage concept for solar parabolic troughs power plants. If such a system can be successfully demonstrated at Saguaro, future trough plants will likely adopt this storage technology. A thermocline storage system for Saguaro has been proposed by Department of Energy (DOE) laboratories and the solar industry. In this paper, the time-dependent performance of the proposed storage system was evaluated with a new model of the plant based on the TRNSYS simulation system. Results indicate that the proposed system should work well at Saguaro. The paper describes the TRNSYS model and the engineering insights gleaned from annual performance simulations of the plant.

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