One of the main problems when designing a solar thermal power plant is to find the optimal parabolic trough field size. Errors made in this context can easily lead into a financial disaster. Simulation tools that handle all aspects of a power plant (technical as well as economical) treat such economical problems as a whole and can be very helpful during the design process. However, even the smartest simulation tool depends significantly on the input parameters, such as the solar irradiance. As a result of the given considerations a new method for estimating the solar field size as a function of the solar irradiance is proposed. Additionally, this paper demonstrates a path to simulate the complexity of a parabolic trough power plant.

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