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The conventional  premise of renewable energy is on generating electricity, which waste 3/4 of input energy for solar power and 2/3 of wind power .    For reference, fossil fuel energy production also wastes two-thirds of consumed energy.

The premise for an Optimal Solar Strategy should be heat (nearly 100% efficient), not  electricity (at only 25% efficiency)).  To clarify:

        1.  Electricity  in steam turbines and reducing speed to generators to make electricity  at no more than 25% efficiency.  At this efficiency, no form of solar "energy should never be use to make heat, which can be generated directly at four times the efficiency of electricity.  Polity makers makers and environmental  groups  should strongly discourage using electricity to generate heat, when solar alternatives are available, , starting with g bacl to  clothes lines.

        2.  Heat.  Use  virtually all solar energy directly as heat, from smaller fields, to provide

60% of industrial energy consumption* is Heat and

60% of residential  and office consumption is heat

Both of these figures would be raised by replacing all air conditioning and industrial refrigeration with "evaporative

 cooling" refrigeration syarwms which can be powered by solar heat.

Virtually all of desalination energy consumption is Heat  and, in the future, solar heat could supply most of that, maybe almost all of that.

The last scenarios compares:

Using solar heat to generate electricity at solar power plant at only  25% efficiency  and distributing it over the grid, which has its own losses and may have to be expanded or build new grid networks o serve new remote solar plant  fields or

• Using solar heat directly provide all the neergy to process bio-mass (mostly organic waste) into bio-gas, pipe it to homes, and then use gas  fuel-cells (widely used in Japan) to convert virtually all of that energy to electricity and heating. 
This "co-gen" (co-generation) makes use of almost all of the input energy.

  • Provide the heat to convert bio-mass to bio-fuels (like bio-Diesel)  for trucks, trains ships,  generators,   Diesel cars bio-mass (non-petroleum) "hearing oil." Note that  bi-mass is considered a "carbon-neutral" fuell, since the plants generate oxygen the whole time they are growing, which cancels out the carbon dioxide generated when they die or are used as fuel. this has been the case since the inbention of file until people stated burning storebio-mass, which is whye call it 'fossil" fuel.




Concentrated Solar Heat (CSH) needs to be planned and designed to maximize the amount of industrial heat that comes from the Sun.   Here is what the strategy that CSH industry needs to pursue:



For major advances in solar cost and being able to locate  anywhere, research is needed to convert heat directly to electricity.  Even if research comes up with a seemingly low   efficiency, the  net cost may be low enough to be affordable  enough and scalability enough to  revolutionize solar power.


Commercialization. In the opinion of commercialization expert, Dr. David Anderson, most renewable energy systems have not been commercialized adequately, and are, therefore, not readily scalable.  Design for manufacturability should be started at the very beginning research  as recommended in the new article on manufacturable research , which is on the banner on his DFM site.  This can be done just by using the easy-to-apply information that  page without needing any outside help!  This has been just published in Section 3.9 in the 2020 editin of the DFM book.     If this not done, the company will have  to add another step, called commercialization:

       Commercialization is the process that converts ideas, research, patents, applied technology or prototypes into viable products and production systems that retain the desired functionality, while designing them to be readily manufacturable at low cost and launched and scaled up  quickly with quality designed in to eliminate quality costs and implementation delays.

Scalability.  To convert world-wide power generation to zero-greenhouse-gases for energy generation and affordable new plant construction, the renewable replacements will have to be quickly scalable.
        If everyone keeps waiting too long to implement all of this,  then the scalability designs and preparations will have to start now, which can be done within existing budgets.
         As discussed in the leading-edge scalability article, this includes assuring the availability of all parts and availability of production capacity for the needed breath of implementation in the necessary time-frames. Energy systems that are not scalable will first have to be commercialized.

Design for Manufacturability
. Products and product systems must be concurrently engineered to:

Reduce the cost enough make wide-spread implementation affordable. The example below shows how to cut the cost beyond  half the cost of building Concentrated Solar Power (CRP), which (a) is the most inherently scalable form of solar power* and b) offers the most efficient energy storage for round-the-clock power availability , saving 98% of stored heat overnight.  To do this, the following must be done proactively: 

• Avoid skill demands by design that will limit implementation due to skill shortages.

• Avoid production bottlenecks by designing products that can be built on ordinary machine tools that are widely available all around the world, like the 21,000 machine shops available in the United States, while avoiding dependence on specialized factories that cost billions of dollars and take years to build. When production capacity is limited, higher demand increases prices instead of lowering them.

        A key element of scalability is availability of parts, materials, skills, and processing equipment. However, if availability is ignored for the appearance of "early progress" or to minimize price competitive bidding, then growth volumes, instead of being the magic cost reduction elixir, will actually drive up all costs delay all projects.

       *  Photo-voltaic peels, are just not scalable because : (1) Their "fabs" cost billions to build and take years to get on line ;and (2) Predatory governments have been subsidizing solar cell factory building, which discourage  domestic investments; and (3) Temporarily lower solar pane prices, which undercuts domestic production, weakens domestic suppliers, and makes all  CSP less competitive and thwarts any innovation there; and (4) Prices will suddenly jump whenever demand surges, without much domestic relief because of the above points; and (6) Ultimately, new renewable energy implementations will  come to a halt  because of supply shortages. of PV panels because of all the above points; and (7) CSP and CSH, which should be domestic  sources of renewable energy, have been weakened by by point #3 above AND cut-trrat competition from all of the  subsidies and efficiency improvements in the fossil fuel industries. -- and, the point of this section, long term lack of innovation in  CSPand CSH.

Dr. Anderson wrote “the book” on DFM.
An updated version has been published every two years since 1990



Efficiency, in itself, can be a misleading goal, if the input source is abundant and free, like sun-light, especially if the conversion cost is can be very low (not anywhere close to current offerings for reasons delineated herein.

Unfortunately, a common cause of major cost and scalability problems is specifying  performance premiums: Avoid excessively expensive and hard- to-get components that costs a high premium for the last few percent of efficiency.

Ironically, some solar energy projects arbitrarily choose efficiency as a primary goal, which can ultimately raise costs unnecessarily, especially if all the ensuing scalability costs are factored in

Some "advanced" solar projects not only

(a) accept incredibly expensive technologies just for sun tracking (as summarized o the above link on Half Cost solar), but also:

(b) use this technology "that they already have" to programmably concentrate Focus to optimize the efficiency of complex hydrogen reactors.

Subsequently, the top goals of these kid of projects are;

1) improve efficiency, and

2) reduce cost.



Developing more effective renewable energy that will be commercialized well enough to scale it rapidly will require innovation.  But, in the opinion of the author of the leading book and web site on Design for Manufacturability, most companies are   surprisingly inadequate at innovation, Fprbes  says that "95% of patents are never licensed or commercialized"  and  Silicon Valley venture capitalists  liken commercialization to "crossing the valley of death."This quote comes  from a group of tech titans trying spur on alternative energy.

   Here is the web article that tells why: Why Companies Can't Innovate, and. and how to unleash innovation. which contains18 common counter-productive practices that prevent companies from innovating, each  with web links to solutions. 

Before any urgent needs require meaningful innovation, everyone doing research needs to apply all the principles of Manufacturable Research which are available now to all research groups  at http://www.design4manufacturability.com/research.htm  who can apply all these principles immediately.

And research should never be thrown over the wall "to industry" who just "launches it" into their factories  without concurrently engineering products and scalable process, as described in the white paper: http://www.design4manufacturability.com/concurrent-engineering.htm



* Cost is defined here as the cost of equipment and installation per output of energy.

 Copyright © 2021 by David M. Anderson

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) was chosen as an example of how these principles could apply to solar power because CSP can store energy most economically as heat,  which

(a) be used as heat, which is 60% of the energy demands of industry abd 60% of residential and office room (space) heatig

(b) be converted to electricity through conversion to steam. z zz

If designed right, ,these scenarios can offer  widespread utilization and could be scaled up the fastest if following scalability principles.    See the article on Scalability with a special example on scaling up solar power production: http://www.design4manufacturability.com/scalability.htm

What is keeping concentrated solar cost high now?

 A cost reduction expert analyzes many reasons why
solar power equipment is more expensive than it could be.

(This section of presentation points are numbered in (parentheses) and
 are followed by solutions in matching {brackets] with corresponding numbers).

1) Old sub-optimal product architectures.  Some CSP builders still use decades-old heliostat guidance designs, even from companies no longer in that business, which precludes improvements.  Meaningful  cost reduction is not pursued, rather counting on cost reduction fallacies (see the full list of cost reduction fallacies in the commercialization article), such as mass production to get the cost down, if they could just get the volume up high enough.  Even quotes  in  2021, they are still stuck in the volume conundrum, where they they think the only way to get the cost down is through "volume," but they can't get the cost down without that "volume."  This page and this whole site shows many ways to Design Half Cost Products, also shown in Section 3.8 in the 2020 DFM book.

 Two CSP hardware suppliers contacted Dr. Anderson, but did not bring him in to show them how to actually lower cost..  Instead, one kept making "deals" to get the volume up.  Later,  both went bankrupt ! 

  2) No Commercialization. Dr. Anderson wrote the article on commercialization after touring the US Government solar test facility at Sandia, NM, and saw mostly what he considered prototypes being tested for function and longevity. In his learned opinion as a manufacturability expert, most of the equipment there needed to be commercialized based on the logic in that linked article, especially the sections on “What Happens Without Commercialization,” which is what he saw there and his warning againin the section, How Not to Do Commercialization, which are briefly summarized next.

3) Not Designed for Manufacturability by following the “usual scenario” of designing only for function, which is the opening section in the new white paper on Concurrent Engineering for Challenging Products, at http://www.design4manufacturability.com/concurrent-engineering.htm  . The article then continues by outlining the myriad of problems this causes.

4) Naive assumptions that "cost can be reduced later" (see http://www.halfcostproducts.com/how_not_to_lower_cost.htm ) or the naive assumptions that automated mass production volume will be able to reduce the cost of any unmanufacturable designs. In reality, designing for automation has the strictest design guidelines.  A more dangerous corollary of mass production thinking is taking on big jobs, assuming that  shear volume alone will automatically get the cost down. And if it doesn’t, which is highly likely, the company may be contractually obligated to a low price bid for high cost hardware
            Actively trying to remove cost later with desperate measures may have counterproductive results – meaning everything  actually costs more than they are expected to save! This is discussed in the web article: “Seven Reasons Why “Cost Reduction” after Design Doesn’t Work.” at

            Toyota says that late changes will “always degrade both product and process performance” (from , The Toyota Product Development System: Chapter 4: Front-Load the Product Development Process).


5) Thinking offshoring will lower cost, which it will not do because

Offshoring generates many “hidden costs” that are only known – and avoided – if all costs are quantified using total cost. See the whole truth about offshoring at http://www.halfcostproducts.com/offshore_manufacturing.htm

Offshoring will prevent real cost reduction by thwarting concurrent engineering and lean production and supply chain simplification and standardization and designing for quality,

Much effort and calendar time will be consumed transferring products offshore, expatriate travel expenses, and, worse,  converting the parts to “local sources of supply, " trying to   save more cost, which is another cost fallacy because

Lower product quality will result from cheap parts made in “low cost” manufacturing areas
Part availability will be in months, not years because most parts in "low-cost" manufacturing are made for short-lived consumer products.

• Parts made for consumer electronics will not be available for the lifespans need for solar power components, which will halt solar component production or induce change orders, and re-testing, to change to more available parts, thus causing change-induced problems cited at the end of point (4)

Changing parts induces variables, whose problems rise exponentially when many parts are changed. The results are that

(a) proven, working designs may not work any more, thus requiring
(b) changes to make products work will cause so many more problems that cost much more than any expected cost savings, as discussed in the section “Difficulties trying to reduce cost later” in the white paper at http://www.design4manufacturability.com/concurrent-engineering.htm

6) Tempted by foreign sales “opportunities” that lock you into offshoring and all the problems and limitations cited above and in the cited links. These enticing sales incentives will force you to work through a local “partner” to whom you bring your intellectual property and teach your partner how to build your products.
        Further, the incentives will expire if you don’t keep “upping the ante” with escalating investments and commitments in that country, for instance, building all your products there for “export” back to your home country or to other projects around the world.

        Unfortunately, many companies may still think that, even without the incentives, cheap parts and “low cost manufacturing” is still worth it  For anyone who thinks that, you need a better cost system! See http://www.halfcostproducts.com/total_cost.htm

7) CSP Plants are Unnecessarily Too Large because of the following reasons. Solar power plants that are too big cause the following problems and inhibitions:

       First, big plants are harder to acquire funding for and are harder find big enough sites and get approvals for them.

       Second, all this may force plant location farther from users instead of many smaller plants located closer to all their users. And smaller mirror fields have more location opportunities for siting and approvals, and can avoid prime farm land or environmentally sensitive land.

       Third, large fields need high towers, which can raise objections about visual glare, disruption to aviation, and risks to birds. But lowering the towers would increase mirror shadowing" and  will reduce the sun  rays coming in  from the most distance mirrors, thus resulting in smaller mirrors that will produce less power for the same mirror guidance cost.

On the other hand, smaller fields, along with clever design, can enable the mirror field to be build in a bowl shape that will enable lower towers, less shadowing, and bigger mirrors on fewer heliostat controllers for a given power. This is especially important for solar fields in northern latitudes, which will need to be exploited for capacity and to be near those users.

       Fourth, the large plant size and more remote siting overwhelm  existing electrical grids to get all this power distributed to users.

Here are some of the reasons that cause unnecessarily large plant size:

a) Mass Production thinking that leads people to the unrealistic conclusion that the only way to get cost down is get procurement volumes up, with even prestigious magazines showing pictures of Henry Ford in front of a Model T. However, this is irrelevant because CSP doesn’t have Detroit volumes nor does it have the points (1) through (4) above, which were meticulously perfected by Henry Ford.

b) Steam turbines that are too big because they were designed for large power plants (see corresponding solutions below).

8) Expensive mirror guidance. The biggest cost penalty in CSP comes from the wrong premise for guiding the mirrors with each mirror needing two motors, two gearboxes, two sets of sensors, and a computer to constantly position both axes all day.
.     The largest CSP plant in the US has 347,000 mirrors, which needs almost 700,000 of these expensive closed-loop servo mechanisms!   Future pland around the world includesolar field over 2.5 times that size which would need well over a million axis drives!.
        In the next major section, an example will show how to eliminate these unnecessary costs.

9) Depending based on subsidized and over-supply discounts
. Much of the solar industry doesn’t correct the above causes of high cost, using the principles of this site and the DFM site, but, instead, just accept shortcomings and depends on government subsidies and, for Photo-Voltaic panels, temporary discounts available from government subsidies and overproduction “deals.”  All this discourages innovation or rush un-commercialized concepts into production before the subsidies expire.  For all these reasons, such strategies can not be counted on to save the planet.



for the  latest on this, "Half Cost Product Development, " in Section 3.8 of  the just publishe dbook, 

"Design for Manufacturability: How to Use Concurrent Engineering to 
Rapidly Develop Low-Cost,  High-Quality Products for Lean Production,"
Second Edition

This will require innovation, but most companies can not innovate. 
This is summarized in the web a
rticle Why Companies Can't Innovate, and How to Unleash Innovation..

This section follows the same numbering as the above section on “What is keeping solar cost high now?”

1] When Cost is Committed. Understand that at least 80% of a product’s cost is determined by the design (as pointed out in the DFM article at
http://www.design4manufacturability.com/DFM_article.htm   The first graph in that article shows that 60% of cost is determined by the concept/architecture and achieving major cost reduction will require concept breakthroughs as shown for electronics and structures at http://www.design4manufacturability.com/designing_low_cost_products.htm 

For CSP the biggest cost reduction opportunities would come for concept breakthroughs 
(Section 3.3.11) that could eliminated hundreds of thousands of  of two-axis servos
 with   linkkage - mechanisms  that  can reflect predictable sun rays to a stationary tower.

Example #3 at https://www.design4manufacturability.com/linkages.htm 
says that an ultra-low-cost linkage system has been designed that will couple arrays 
of  heliostat  mirrors
with low-cost linkages that will even focus 25 times better!

2] Commercialization. The science of solar power is adequate and has been proven over the years. Commercialization emphasizes identifying the “crown jewels,” preserving them, and designing manufacturable stuff around them. Thus, there is no new risk and the proven science is preserved, so the only new testing would be for part and material durability and survivability, for which there is a wealth of data for most parts and materials. The longer version of this is delineated the section, “How to Commercialize Prototypes & Research.” on the article on commercialization.

3] Design for Manufacturability
. The web site: http://www.design4manufacturability.com  has many leading-edge seminar descriptions and 54 articles on DFM, organized on the home page into categories for DFM, Concurrent Engineering, Lean and Build-to-Order, Design Examples, and Counter-Productive Policies.  The main principle is that manufacturability must be designed into the product using Concurrent Engineering ( http://www.design4manufacturability.com/concurrent-engineering.htm  ) with the right mix of resources at the right time to accomplish this in half the time with half the resources as shown in: (http://www.design4manufacturability.com/half-the-time.htm )

4] Design for Low Cost.
Most of the site http://www.design4manufacturability.com/  shows how to design products for low cost. The article: http://www.design4manufacturability.com/designing_low_cost_products.htm  discusses how to design low-cost products with examples for electronic products and large structures. The home page of HalfCostProducts.com  offers several more methodologies to lower total cost.

5] Avoiding offshoring enables real cost reduction, such as:

Working together in multifunctional teams in real time to use concurrent engineering to design low cost products

• Stable production can be reached in half the time
by using Concurrent Engineering teams to work together every day, interacting often instead one round of email per day. See: http://www.design4manufacturability.com/half-the-time.htm

Designing products for quality using multifunctional teams working together in real time, which will save much more in “cost of quality” than any part cost price saving for cheap parts. See: http://www.design4manufacturability.com/design_for_quality.htm
Benefit from efficient flow/lean production inside your own factory instead of offshoring to batch production in a remote contract manufacturer who just “builds to print,”  in the best case avoiding the costs and risks of changing setups between batches.  Unless you have enough production  for a dedicated line (which you could do at home), the contract manufacture will build batches that that will require the cost and delays of setting up the batch and tearing  it down (you will pay for both!), which will:

6] Be Objective about all opportunities, either for access to markets with strings attached (the temptations in # (6) above) or thinking offshoring will lower your net cost (the point # (5) above about the problems of offshoring. These risks will be minimized by:

• quantifying all costs as recommended in this site's total cost article

• Actually lowing your total costs, as recommended in all these points and links, so as not to be tempted by any magic elixirs

7] Make CSP fields the optimal size.  First, don’t fall for any fallacies that high volumes alone will automatically  lower the part cost and cut assembly costs dramatically.  Next, all components must be sized for the optimal plant size. Probably the biggest problem for big components forcing large plants would be the turbine and steam plant that were built for large fossil fuel or nuclear powered  plants. Dr. Anderson has proposed to one of the turbine suppliers the need to use commercialization to retain their proven technologies to:

(a) design scaled-down versions.

b) design for lowest cost per output. Any machinery that consumes high-cost feed stock, like non-renewable fuels, must maximize efficiency However, machine cost can rise exponentially to get every last percent of efficiency.  On the other hand, solar power fuel is “free” but most of the cost is paying off the equipment. Therefore, since the economics are so different, it may be possible to design the lowest cost per output without the “efficiency at any cost” penalty.

 Given the effort, and the gain, this will need to be funded appropriately and quickly to assure this is can scale ready when widespread implementation is needed fast.  See the last half of www.design4manufacturability.com/scalability.htm .

8] Design ultra-low-cost mirror guidance. Given that conventional heliostat mirrors may number in the hundreds of thousands for a large solar plant, this could be the biggest opportunity to substantially slash the cost of Concentrated Solar Power, especially for Concentrated Solar Heat (CSH), for which the mirror field is most of the plan, so that would make CSH ultra-low-cost.

        The heliostat mirror field is half the installation cost for CSP electricity generation and constitutes almost all of the cost of heat generation installations for instance, for industrial heat needs, desalination, Bio-mass processing, heating large building, to replace existing burners, and augment conventional plants with solar energy whenever possible. (See next example on how ultra-low-cost mirror fields can be designed.).

9] Don’t depend, and wait on, on subsidies or over-supply discounts.  Doing all above will lower the cost so much that it will eliminate the need depend on these or wait for them to appear.

Achieve  major cost reductions with just a few resources with Backward-Comparable “Drop-in” Replacements, e.g for sub-assemblies like hard-to-build frames and structures  This can  save a lot of money now replacing hard-to-build, high-skill versions, both on existing products and then become the foundation of new generation product developmentsSee:


The overall strategy: Instead of depending on hundreds of thousands of expensive servo-controlled motors, controllers, sensors, and gearboxes, the ultra-low-cost strategy would be to couple  mirrors together mechanically.

        One might say: "Sounds good! Why hasn't this been done before."  The answer is that the design of mechanical couplings require advanced design expertise,  because each heliostat mirror must be uniquely positioned based on its location relative to the tower target, Each mirror must go through its unique daily motion to precisely reflect sunlight to a stationary tower throughout each day.

Fortunately, linkages can be designed to do this, with enough knowledge of the broad range of linkage functions possible, as shown at http://www.design4manufacturability.com/linkages.htm

Given, solar power planners should seriously consider major cost reduction opportunities, like clever linkage couplings that would orient each mirror to be guided in a unique way to reflect sunlight to the tower all day.

Example # 3 at http://www.design4manufacturability.com/linkages.htm  shows a CAD layout of to-scale mirrors (without showing the connecting linkages) that shows the unique orientations of connected mirrors. 

  Conventional Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) power plants use up to 350,000 “heliostat” mirrors that reflect sunlight onto a tower-mounted target.  Currently, each of these mirrors has two motors, two gearboxes, two sets of sensors, and a computer to constantly correct both axes all day.   So a large solar field will have up to 700,000 of these control systems!

  Further, individual mirror facets can all focus sunlight on the tower
can improve focus 25 times better!

mirrors reflect un-focused light.
Heliostat mirrors aim their center at the tower, but if the mirror is flat, only the center is focused at the target, and the rest of the sunlight shines above, below, and to the sides of the target. This is because sunlight rays are parallel and flat mirrors will reflect parallel sunlight rays.

Focused mirror facets can be 25 times better focused. On the other hand, sunlight focus can be improved 25 times if the heliostat consists of, say, 25 facets, each continually aimed at the target. In the illustration (in the above linked article), the center mirror array shows all 25 mirror facets individually aimed at the target,  compared to the adjacent mirrors, which are flat for a visual comparison.
       Individually focused facets have been proposed for solar furnaces to replace large two-stage mirror systems (a tracking heliostat aimed at a large fixed parabola) with a single focusing heliostat that is focused directly on the ultimate target. However, conventional design practice requires an extra 8 to 24 drives per heliostat. And this can not be retrofitted to current heliostat designs that have the usual elevation axis mounted over an azimuth (compass direction) axis, which, by the way, usually have both axes converging on a weak gimbal bearing at the top of their mounting post.  So, optimal joint ordering, which is the first step in robot design, can provide (a) highly focused mirrors and (b) stronger joint pivots.
         Fortunately, Dr. Anderson can also apply his linkage expertise to continually focus 24 “slave” mirrors on the target throughout the day, and also avoid expensive focusing drives here too.

This brings solar furnace heat and temperatures to solar power at ultra-low cost.

       This will be especially valuable for (a) generating the most heat and highest temperature for industrial processing or heating large buildings, (b) smaller, more compact mirror fields, where focus is even more important, and (c) larger heliostats, which will be possible since all mirror facets will be focused on the target (regardless of heliostat size) and because of the stronger pivots mentioned earlier.
            For Concentrated Solar Power, (a) better focus can allow heliostats to be closer to the tower and (b) more concentrated sunlight needs fewer heliostats, thus resulting in more compact fields that will cost a lot less and need less land with less permiting challenges

Simple-to-build heliostat couplings would represents a huge opportunity because:

a) The heliostat mirror field is half the installation cost for building CSP electricity generation plants

b) The mirror field constitutes almost all of the cost of heat generation installations for instance, for industrial heat.

(c) Compared to trying to "cost reduce" or redesign today's complex servo drives, developing simple mechanical mechanisms would be faster, considering simple linkage parts could be automatically fabricated to high tolerances from ordinary materials that have already been proven to survive a long time outdoors. 

(c) Then, ordinary machine shops and factories could knock out large volumes of easily manufacturable mirror mechanisms.  Since most of the heliostat mirror field would be manufactured by ordinary CNC machine tools from ready available materials, this alone would easily satisfy local content requirements, without having to lose control of the crown jewels or outsource anything too hard to build or too proprietary.

This could also be scaled up much faster than new photovoltaic panel production, which may need multi-billion “fabs” (semiconductor factories), which take years to build, compared to the 21,000 general-purpose machine shops already in the United States.  See the Scalability article at: http://www.design4manufacturability.com/scalability.htm  

This is one example of how cut in half the cost can be designed out of solar power plants,  All potential cost reduction breakthroughs, like this one, should be developed now so implementation can be able to quickly  commercialized and be designed to be scaled up very quickly.



 Go to  the last strategy on the new section at  www.design4manufacturability.com/strategy.htm 

The last strategy on this page shows an oritinal strategy for:


An ultra-low cost, compact, high-temperature  Concentrated  Solar Heat heliostat field that will


sThe combination of these solar heat sources could provide solar replacements for petroleum versions of natural gas, Diesel oil, and even solar heating "oil" with no CO2 at three times the efficiency.


Scaling  up  Renewable  Energy

The most challenging application of scalability will be to scale up renewable energy.

Scalability is extremely import for all fast moving industries, like renewable energy,  Learning how design and build scalable is important for 2 reasons:

1) Learn how to do this and start including these principles in all your product development efforts now.

2)  Have scalable products designed. ready, and commercialized before urgent needs appear and there are pressures to rush "whatever you have" into very ambitious schedules.

Rising energy demands to deal with a warming planet
coupled with rapid needs to phase out energy sources that exacerbate the problem
means the world must be ready for extremely rapid scaling on a vast scale.

This means that new scalable designs must be ready to go and be:

Fully Commercialized

If not, new designs will not be able to scale up and it will take a lot of calendar time and resources to  try until the design is fully commercialized as specified in in the commercialization article  The status quo in this industry can not continue with rapid scale ups looming.

Unlimited Production Capacity Will Be Needed

Limited scalability products could be built in a single mass production factory with dedicated tooling, both of which could be expanded somewhat or duplicated. Similarly, having to depend on two billion dollar photo-voltaic  “fabs” that take two years to build will greatly limit scalability.

Unlimited scalability
would need to be designed for fabrication on general purpose CNC machine tools in the  21,200 machine shops in the United States alone! These automated parts would then be bolted together on-site.

    Minimum Material Consumption

Products should be designed in structural efficient shapes, like trusses assembled from CNC struts, as shown in the generic examples at:  http://www.design4manufacturability.com/low-cost-truss.htm  This page shows how to design the highest strength with the lowest weight -- and cost!  This is done by making truss shapes follow load paths, which can be made automatically on CNC machine tools.

     Readily Available Parts and Materials

For the summary of this topic, go to the Manufacturable Research page, ee the “Part Availability” section, half way down the page at   http://www.design4manufacturability.com/research.htm

    Minimize Skill Demands

Designing out skill demands will eliminate those scaling limits and minimize costs, as discussed two points after the above point on Manufacturable Research page. For the full discussion on the last several topics, see Section  5.19  in the DFM book.

Problems scaling up current solar energy

1) Some solar solutions, like Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) are inherently too expensive for widespread deployment, as was pointed out in the first section titled “What is keeping concentrated solar cost high now?” at http://www.halfcostproducts.com/half_cost_solar.html

2) Other renewable energies may not be scalable enough.  Even if the motivation and funds are forthcoming, production of un-scalable designs may bog down right away with bottlenecks in production, years to build more factories, part/material supply chains challenges, skill shortages, and difficult installation.

This article will show how everything can be made ready to scale up quickly.

Rapid, widespread deployment of solar power

What is needed is rapid, concerted deployment of a portfolio of emerging and mature energy technologies.  Some of these solutions must be commercialized and designed for scalability and scalability.  All new solar products must be  designed for manufacturability  at the research stage in the new article on this site. 


Example: making Concentrated Solar Power scalable

This was selected as a scalability example because

(a) CSP offers the best solution for energy storage to enable solar plants to provide power day and night  by storing heat (with 98% remaining all night) instead of trying to store electricity, which is much more expensive and will have to compete with more important uses of batteries for electric cars and home PV pane electrical storage, which have few other viable alternatives

(b) current CSP has a long way to go become scalable.

The conclusion of the opening section of the article on Half Cost Solar.   http://www.halfcostproducts.com/half_cost_solar.html , is that “mature” Concentrated Solar Power is simply not ready to be scaled up.    CSP first must be commercialized to overcome those manufacturability and cost limitations to compete with systems that are designed to be scalable for rapidly large-scale deployed

 Ensuring Research will be Manufacturable

The lesson here for new technology development is to conduct Manufacturable Research and avoid having to “invent under pressure” and then rush prototypes into production, which causes most of the problems cited in the linked low-cost-solar article.

Fortunately, manufacturable research or even commercialization can be done right now within existing budgets and resources and not have to wait for large-scale resources to try to scale up non-scalable designs. The next section shows how to do that.

The conclusion is that commercialization of mature and emerging technologies must be done now so scalable solutions will be ready for wide-spread deployment.

Bottom Line:

Renewable energy technologies must be quickly commercialized and (re)designed for manufacturability, low-cost, and scalability, This preparatory design work could be done now within existing budgets to be ready for widespread implementation whenever greater motivation and funding are forthcoming.

How to Make Solar Power Scalable

First Step: Minimize Cost to ultra-low-cost levels

Expanding renewable power will require that equipment is  affordable enough for widespread implementation around the world, which may need to be done very quickly if everyone waits too long until demand surges. 

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP, sometimes called "power tower") has not been adequately commercialized, so its equipment design will need total cost reduction before widespread deployment, as is addressed in the companion article on Half Cost CSP Solar at: http://www.halfcostproducts.com/half_cost_solar.html 

That article opened with the section “What is keeping Concentrated Solar Power cost high now?” and is followed by sections on “General Participles for Designing Low-cost Products” and then a promising example: “Heliostat Mirror Guidance at Half the Cost or Better,” which is one of the biggest. opportunities to reduce half the cost for power generation and eliminate hundreds of thousands of motors, sensors, and controllers currently needed to track the sun, which also comprises the vast majority of the cost for heat production for heat-intensive industrial processes.

The next steps: Follow the remaining steps after the next steps in the opening section above.

Scaling up production volumes quickly by orders of magnitude

In order to scale up solar power:


To scale up renewable energy, the equipment must be  commercialized
and designed for manufacturability around widely available parts and
materials to be made without depending on skilled labor
on widely-available machine tools. 

 This preparatory design work needs to be started now so that when the need and demand appears, the world is ready to scale up to any volumes. 


Scaling down boilers for concentrated Solar Power

Boilers in the conventional energy business are sized for very large fossil fuel or nuclear power plants

However basing solar CSP power plants on these can result in unnecessarily large solar plants which can lead to unnecessarily:

Boiler manufacturers may need to scale down to the boilers themselves by using commercialization  principles to maintain proven turbine blade part design with fewer blade sets supported by scaled down framework structures and plumbing. Thus the fluid dynamics and thermodynamics would remain the same and not have to be re-designed or re-tested.

Avoiding economics-of-scale fallacies

There are many people in this business that firmly believe the Mass Production fallacy   that getting the production volume up automatically gets the cost down!

Therefore, renewable energy planners should not resist all these advantages and keep projects big
just for the illusions of "economies of scale."

However, the proven cost-reduction metrologies of this site and www.HalfCoostProducts.com  can lower cost much more than any perceived quantity discounts. And, in fact, if such a large demand that exceeds the capacity of such a small industry,  could actually raise part costs.

Doubling Solar Plant Capacity

The 2015 MIT Future of Solar Energy report says:

“ A supercritical CO2 Brayton cycle is of particular interest because of its higher efficiency (near 60%) and smaller volume relative to current Rankine cycles. This is due to the fact that CO2 at supercritical conditions. . . . . is almost twice as dense as steam, which allows for the use of smaller generators with higher power densities.

Solar furnaces can generate more than this amount of heat, but at the high cost or using two-stage collectors or single heliostat mirrors with articulated facets, both of which are very expensive

So cost-effective generation of high temperatures would need breakthrough concepts like the examples in the article on Manufacturable Research to continuously focus mirror facets onto a single point without needing dozens of facet drivers for every heliostat.

Scalability may require real innovation:


Developing more effective renewable energy that will be commercialized enough to scale it rapidly will require innovation.  But, in the opinion of the author of the leading book and web site on Design for Manufacturability, the vast majority  of companies are  surprising inadequate at innovation,* except for the author's clients, especially his stand-out clients profiled at the Results paae.   ion!  Here is the web article that tells why: Why Companies Can't Innovate, and. and how to unleash innovation. which contains18 common counter-productive practices that prevent companies from innovating, each  with web links to solutions. 

Before any urgent needs require meaningful innovation, everyone doing research needs to apply all the principles of Manufacturable Research which are available now to all research groups  at http://www.design4manufacturability.com/research.htm  who can apply all these principles immediately.

And research should never be thrown over the wall "to industry" who just "launches it" into their factories  without concurrently engineering products and scalable process, as described in the white paper: http://www.design4manufacturability.com/concurrent-engineering.htm

                * Fprbes says that "95% of patents are never licensed or commercialized."

                And Silicon Valley venture capitalists  liken commercialization to "crossing the valley of death."

see the full general article on scalability at http://www.design4manufacturability.com/scalability.htm 



For major advances in solar cost and being able to locate  anywhere, research is needed to convert heat directly to electricity.  Even if research comes up with a seemingly low   efficiency, if the cost was low enough gh and it was scalable, it would revolutionize solar power.  To support that. figuratively and literally . . .

 This site shows how to provide, and easily scale up, an ultra-low-cost parabolic geodesic dish (shown on the low-cost  truss page) that can achieve solar furnace level temperatures and heat, based on the precise and rigid structural methodologies of the most manufacturable truss design.

Copyright (C) 2022 BY David M. Anderson


This page presents a compelling case for  significant investment providing nothing counter-productive gets in the way.  If so, find out how to identify and overcome whatever is  Conter-Productive page.


The very first step may be to start with a few hours of the DFM thought-leader to help formulate strategies and implementation planning.  See his consulting page:  http://design4manufacturability.com/Consulting.htm


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About the Author

Dr. David M. Anderson
has been providing customized seminars and webinars on DFM and Concurrent Engineering for 25 years. He has unique expertise in both commercialization and scalability, which gives him unique expertise that enables him to create strategies and implementation plans to rapidly commercialize complex systems for optimize manufacturability so that they that they can be rapidly be scaled up as many times as needed.

Notable seminar/workshop engagements include eight at Hewlett-Packard, five at GE, four at Boeing, four at BAE Systems, four at Korea's LG Electronics, two at Emerson Electric. Advanced Energy Industries (power plant scale PV Inverters), Itron (smart meters), and five at GE, including GE Nuclear, GE Power (distributed power plants), and GE Energy (power plant scale fuel cells).  He recently presented a DFM seminar to Facebook's Connectivity Lab.  See the complete list of Clients of Dr. David M. Anderson, P.E., CMC. .

Since 1990, he has published books on DFM and Concurrent Engineering, with updated editions published every couple of years, based on his seminars, workshops, consulting. His current 2014 DFM book is now being translated into Mandarin.

In 1993 he twice taught the Product Development course at the Haas Graduate School of Business at U.C., Berkeley.
Dr. Anderson is a Life Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and a Life Member in SME. He has been certified as a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) by the Institute of Management Consultants. His credentials include professional engineering (P.E.) registrations in Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering and a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, with a thesis in mechanisms. .

He can be reached at 805-924-0100 or anderson@build-to-order-consulting.com 
He has published dozens of articles that are posted at www.design4manufacturability.com , www.HalfCostProducts.com, and www.build-to-order-consulting.com

Copyright © 2022 by Dr. David M. Anderson, P.E.

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