Solar energy from space, project of the European Space Agency

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solar satellite

Europe aims to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, which will be very difficult to achieve without a strong commitment to renewable energy.

That’s why solar power delivered wirelessly from space to Earth, SBSP (short for space-based solar power), is a solution on the table.

In The Verge they have published a detailed article on the state of this technology and here I outline the main points to consider:

– Sunlight is 10 times more intense in the upper part of the atmosphere than on the surface of the earth, so we need to use it to capture the energy as high as possible.
– Satellites are launched to constantly collect solar energy and wirelessly transmit it back to Earth to receiving stations.
– The name of the program responsible for this task is Solaris and a decision on this matter will be made in 2025.
– A single solar satellite would generate about 2 GW of electricity, equivalent to a conventional nuclear power plant that could power more than a million homes.
– Hundreds of parts would have to be assembled in space to create a large solar station in space. One proposal is to install industrial capacity on the moon to build solar-powered satellites from there to avoid the expense of constantly launching rockets to ship parts. It is even considering the possibility of building a lunar space elevator, a 100,000-200,000 km cable that would stretch from the lunar surface to Earth to transport material.
– Wireless Power Transmission Technology (WPT) is used to send the collected energy to the surface of the earth.

However, all of this will be decided in 2025 when we will know if it is technically feasible and the necessary numbers will be collected to see who is paying for what.

For more information, visit www.esa.int

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