Previous studies of solar collector fluid control systems have utilized computer simulations of collector and piping dynamics to evaluate stability and response characteristics. To obtain reasonable simulation accuracy requires substantial computer memory and time and is well beyond the capability of small, desk-top computers. This paper derives a linearized steady-state frequency response for parabolic trough collectors and for connecting piping, which can be used in standard gain-phase analyses to evaluate system stability and closed loop frequency response. The frequency response characteristics of a typical collector string and piping are used in a gain-phase analysis to get some insight into the effect on system stability of various system parameters such as controller gain, sensor and controller time constants, and sensor location.

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