What is the goal?
An always-on (24 x 7 x 365) power supply that is inexpensive to produce, can be bulk produced with readily available materials, can be manufactured in any nation using 1950′s or earlier technology, and has a working lifespan greater than 20 years.
The system consists of six main components:
Solar thermal cells for gathering energy.An insulated thermal mass for storing the energy (dirt or water).A heat radiator for disposing of waste heat.An LTD Stirling engine for generating energy.A flow controller for for fluid flow, preventing energy loss from the system, and increasing efficiency.An inverter to connect to the grid and convert DC power from the generator to AC usable in your house and power grid.
Each component is designed to be as inexpensive, modular, easily replaceable, and mass producible as possible.
Comparing the current cost of energy at ~$100 USD per MWh to a system based on a redesign of a 100 – 200 year old technology shows that sub $20 USD per MWh energy is possible with technology available today. It also shows that renewable energy can be far cheaper than fossil fuels with a little creativity.