How to Build a Concentrating Solar Trough




Introduction: How to Build a Concentrating Solar Trough

This is a cheap and easy way to build a solar reflection trough.

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Step 1: Materials


2x2.45m 25mm aluminum angle stock
2x2.5m 25mm aluminum angle stock
8x0.39m 25mm aluminum angle stock
4x0.80m 25mm aluminum angle stock
2x0.85m 25mm aluminum angle stock

0.33mm 25mm wide flat aluminum  bar

2x 0.39m by 0.85m aluminum sheet
100 pop rivets
3m copper tube

2x2.5m 50mm aluminum bar
2.4m x 1.2m  8mm aluminum sheet

Step 2: Preperation

Take the 2.5m 25mm aluminum angle stocks.

Cut a 25mm square from both ends creating one side of 2.5m and one of 2.45m

Step 3: End Pieces

Take one of the sheets.

Clamp a 0.39m angle stock to each side of the sheet.
Drill a hole just bigger then the pop rivet at the top,bottom and evenly spaced on the angle stock.
Pop rivet the angle stock to the sheet

Do the same with the 0.80m but put  them on the top and bottom and on each side.

Measure 11.8cm up from the 0.8m angle stock that forms the center of the bottom of the U and drill a hole big enough for the copper tube.

On the top angle drill a hole in the center (This will be for focusing so use a drill smaller then the copper pipe)

Follow the step again. Now you have your 2 end pieces.

Step 4: Middle Pieces

Take a 0.85m and clamp 2 0.39m pieces and the pop rivet them together

Step 5: Conncting the Pieces Together

(Making Angle Bracket)

Measure 25mm from both ends of the flat bar

Measure .191m from both ends and make the cuts from the 1st picture.

(Attach Angle Bracket and long piece)

Then take the 2.45m pieces and clamp them to a end piece. Then take the bar and make a bracket for support. (picture 2)

Attach the other end piece to the other end of the 2.45m piece without angle bracket

(middle pieces)

measure 0.8m from the end piece and attach the middle pieces

(top piece)

Place the 2.5m piece on the top of the middle and end pieces (Picture 3)

Step 6: Reflective Surface

Attach the 50mm bars to the top. (picture 1)
Put the 2.4m x 1.2m sheet in and push them in under the bars(picture 2)

Stick the copper pipe through the hole.

Congratulations the trough is now done

Step 7: Aiming the Trough

Use wood to lift one end until the circle of light falls on both sides of the pipe.

Lookout for part 2 on how to automate the aiming and using it to do useful work.

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    2 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job!

    Any figures on the flow and temperatures that can be achieved by this type of setup (I'm guessing that will be included in part 2, but thought I'd ask anyway)?



    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    not yet. I have not been able to attach a hose to it yet to measure.

    However without water it can get VERY hot very quickly so their is a quite a bit of power there.


    2.4*.85 * .5 (50% efficiency) = 1.02KW/hour
    ((1.02 KWh) / (4186 J)) * (1 kg) = 877.209747 kilograms/hour

    So ~877 Kilograms Degrees /hour

    So if you want a rise of 50C you should be able to get 17L/hour