Solar Power From Space
- Author Debra Seibt
- Published January 7, 2012
- Word count 512
Space Based Solar Power is sending satellites to orbit around earth equipped with solar panels to collect the sun's energy, thereby; converting it to microwaves which are sent back to earth to be picked up by special by a special antenna called a "rectenna." It sends it in to our homes as energy.In the early 70's research began during the first energy crisis. The science has continued working on the project over the past few decades and have developed initial study models to determine the feasibility.
The Move Forward
A new report was released November 15th from the International Academy of Astronautics that states that there could be a working space based solar power platform in just 20 years, with enough energy being produced for the entire globe in just 30. This is great news for the space solar power researchers. That is almost 60 yrs after its discovery. If they get going on it, seriously this time we may have it. . China who is leading the world in solar panel manufacturing has also been working on Space based Solar power they are projecting having satellites in orbit by 2025. The space race is on again?
According to NSS the initial investment towards research is $10-12 million. But the actual cost for construction? The estimate in today's economy is $10 billion. That is for a whole fleet of them supplying power for the United States. Not a bad price if it works.
Other positive aspects to consider :
It would eliminate the concern over plant and wildlife habitats.
The desert areas have been proposed to hold large arrays of solar collectors and have been met with complaints of visual obstruction and wild life concerns.
Once the space transmitters were in place they could, by remote, send extra energy for emergency services or military operations.
The Science of It
When using surface solar panels the suns rays are filtered through the atmosphere through the effects of reflection and absorption. A solar panel in space absorbs the rays with no obstruction of any kind. Consequently the satellite would power itself from the sun and run the microwave transmitter or possibly a laser emitter.
Many voices of descent say it will be $10 billion for just one and that is just too much for the return on investment. Speculation goes on. Some say that once they are operational at any price the value is unlimited.
Another drawback to be considered in the cost equation is the current satellite launchers are way to expensive to use. So creation of new more effective launchers is necessary.
Once they are active and transmitting enough electricity to power the world I have to wonder who will be in control of the price of energy and will it be cheap enough. Shouldn't the electricity prices go down. Not likely, there may not be much maintenance but the initial investment will most likely fall in the laps of the average person as the corporations reap the profits.
I will keep my individual solar power up and running just in case its not a good deal.
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