parabolic dish collector
Parabolic dish collector with a mirror-like reflectors and an absorber at the focal point. Image courtesy of SunLabs, Dept. of Energy.
A parabolic dish collector is a concentrating solar collector that is similar in appearance to a large satellite dish, but has mirror-like reflectors and an absorber at the focal point. A parabolic dish system uses a computer and dual-axis tracking to follow the Sun across the sky and concentrate the Sun's rays onto the receiver located at the focal point in front of the dish. In some systems, a heat engine, such as a Stirling engine, is linked to the receiver to generate electricity. Parabolic dish systems can reach 1000°C at the receiver, and achieve the highest efficiencies for converting solar energy to electricity in the small-power capacity range.