China Targets Space Solar By 2050
Solar farms in space could be renewable energy's next frontier; China wants to put a solar power station in orbit by 2050 and is building a test facility to find the best way to send power to the ground.
Denise Chow and Alyssa Newcomb, March 9, 2019 (NBC)
“…[China] plans to put a solar power station in orbit by 2050, a feat that would make it the first nation to harness the sun’s energy in space and beam it to Earth…Since the sun always shines in space, space-based solar power is seen as a uniquely reliable source of renewable energy…[D]eveloping the hardware needed to capture and transmit the solar power, and launching the system into space, will be difficult and costly…[A Chinese test facility would determine the best approach to the1970s idea that] advances in wireless transmission and improvements in the design and efficiency of photovoltaic cells…[may now make feasible. Details] of China’s plans have not been made public…
[One approach would be to launch tens of thousands of [satellites covered with the photovoltaic panels] that would link up to form an enormous cone-shaped structure that orbits about 22,000 miles above Earth…[The solar energy-generated electricity] would be converted into microwaves and beamed wirelessly to ground-based receivers — giant wire nets measuring up to four miles across. These could be installed over lakes or across deserts or farmland…[S]uch a solar facility could generate a steady flow of 2,000 gigawatts of power. The largest terrestrial solar farmsgenerate only about 1.8 gigawatts…China hasn’t revealed how much it’s spending…[A small-scale test to demonstrate the various technologies would likely cost at least $150 million…[The swarming solar satellites] would cost about $10 billion apiece…” click here for more