A company called Space Energy has indicated that it plans to develop space-based solar power, beaming back energy gathered from orbiting solar-panelled satellites via microwave.
The, frankly, intriguing technology is still squarely in the realms of theory, but solar-based solar power, or SBSP to its friends, certainly has potential even if a Discovery documentary appears to question the whole concept.
Space Energy has indicated that it plans to launch a satellite with the necessary photo-voltaic panels into low earth orbit as a prototype to test its theory and the mechanical realities of converting the sun's rays unhindered by atmosphere or weather to usable energy on earth.
The theory is that energy can be beamed back as microwaves via large antennas – which can then be used conventionally. Apparently, six to eight times more energy is available to space-bound solar panels than earth ones – even in the prime locations.
Gizmag's in-depth article on the theory explains the problem with sending energy by microwave, with efficiency catastrophically bad the last time it was properly tested.
So we'll be keeping the solar panels out on Future towers for the time being, but keeping an interested eye on whether Space Energy is pie in the sky or love from above.
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