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Sinuous Mountainside Sidereal Solar Railway

Follow the sun. After an ill-fated trip to Eastern Oregon, I came up with this idea which I hope doesn't fall down too.
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As those who live in Northern Latitudes know, this time of year the sun does not rise in the east. The sun traces a long arc from the NE to the NW. A solar array pointed south would not achieve the benefits of the very long period of almost 17 hours of daylight.

Eastern Oregon typically has 300 days of sunshine per year, so solar power may be an option. This area also boasts a large number of Shield Volcanoes.

I propose a solar array on rails that would be placed on a shield volcano. The railway would have switchbacks which correspond to the sidereal sweep of the sun. Each day, the train would follow a sloping track to follow the sun. At dusk, the solar array would swing back to catch the morning rays.

Underneath the train would be a cogway that would be used to send the collected power out to the grid and to provide power to drive the solar array after the summer solstice.

Klaatu, Jun 04 2008

Black Butte http://maps.google....1,0.346069&t=h&z=12
A great candidate [Klaatu, Jun 04 2008]

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       This is interesting, but sounds excessively complicated and inefficient, especially if the train has to buck a wind to move.
MisterQED, Jun 04 2008

       The wind would only be a factor after the summer solstice. Otherwise, it's downhill all the way spring into summer.   

       //sounds excessively complicated// This IS the HalfBakery, isn't it?
Klaatu, Jun 04 2008

       Hmmmm. . .verrry interesting! And no more complicated than trying to make fusion energy work. Like it :)!
Moonguy, Jun 04 2008

       Power the locomotive with geothermal energy from the volcano, Shirley?!
Canuck, Jun 04 2008

       // long arc from the NE to the NW ..... the solar array would swing back to catch the morning rays. //   

       Better to just carry on round to the start point ? Shorter to go on than back .....
8th of 7, Jun 04 2008

       [8th of 7] You're right. That would be the shorter journey, at least during the longer days of summer. During the winter months, the rails would be the switchback.
Klaatu, Jun 04 2008

       It would take much less energy and is much simpler just to have the solar panels on a tracker. This is already well established technology.
SolarDon, Jan 19 2011


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