Abstract A new analytical model for optical performance and a modified integration algorithm are proposed and applied to simulate the performance of a parabolic trough solar collector with vacuum tube receiver. The analytical equation for optical efficiency of each point at reflector is derived first, then the optical efficiency of the system is simulated by numerical integration algorithm. The cosine factor, receiver efficiency, heat loss and efficiency of conversion of solar energy into net heat energy at any time can be calculated with the program. The annual average efficiency is also simulated considering discard loss. The effects of optical error, tracking error, position error from installation of receiver, optical properties of reflector, transmittance and absorptivity of vacuum tube receiver on efficiencies of the trough system are simulated and analyzed as well as optical parameter.