May 15, 2022

Is Solar Energy from Outer Space in Our Future? — Part One: Building a Geosynchronous Solar Power Plant

Posted by in categories: satellites, solar power, sustainability

Today a state-of-the-art solar panel on Earth can convert between 20 to 30% of the energy it collects from sunlight into electricity. At night solar panels here contribute nothing. But in space with nothing to block the Sun, that same Earth-based solar panel becomes thirteen times more efficient. And that is enough of an incentive to consider solar power from space.

The Chinese and UK models are massive arrays located in geosynchronous orbit while continuously beaming energy to receiving stations here on Earth.

The US model is different using a constellation of solar power generating satellites. These would be in relatively low orbits and interconnected to form a mesh network. The total network would generate continuous energy beaming it to the surface even when a portion of it gets blocked when the satellites enter the night side of the planet.

In this two-part posting, we look at the Chinese and UK models.

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