A SolarValley is my idea for a high output SolarPower system. It uses natural geographical structures to provide most of the basic structures, but is basically a combination of a WaterSolarTower and a OsmoticGenerator.

Diagram of a Solar Valley
Diagram of a Solar Valley

Essentially most of the structures needed are the same as a water resevoir, basically a large valley. In this case, the volume of water contained is not important, but the over all area that can be covered is. This has the advantage that the production of the dam would be cheaper than a normal dam as the weight of water would be need to be too great. Likewise, the amount of incoming water would not need to be large. So, it would be possible to build a SolarValley in areas not useful for a resevoir.

Over the top of the lake formed behind the damn is stretched a greenhouse structure. Again, as the water need not be that deep, it the greenhouse could be anchored to the base of the lake without too much difficulty. This greenhouse could be made out of glass or plastic, as seems appropriate.

And one or several points along the valley, would be a large SolarTower. This would run up the side of the hill. It would need to be well insulated. This would channel the humid air from the system up the hill. At the top the SolarTower would open out into a higher level lake, perhaps in a natural corrie. The humid air would bubble through the corrie, where most of the humidity would condense out effectively turning the entire high level lake into a cooling radiator.

The high level lake could be allowed to fill or shrink as required, but at any time water could be siphoned back down the turning one of more WaterTurbines on the way.

To make this whole process more efficient, a large quantity of salt would be dissolved in the lake. This would have to be bought from the sea, which would obviously be economically expensive, but this would only need to be done once, however, as the water is going around in circles. The introduction of salt should reduce the energy required to evaporate of the water. It should also enable the use of an OsmoticGenerator at the bottom.

Following the WaterTurbine, water would be collected in a small holding pond, which would then be used to power the OsmoticGenerator, probably with a bypass for when too much water was coming down the WaterTurbine, perhaps at time of peak requirement.

Updated: 06-05-08
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