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Future Visions: Space-Based Solar Power

Future Visions Space-Based Solar Power Type I

As discussed in my Space-Based Solar Power video, in the future, vast solar power satellites may beam energy to the Earth from geostationary orbit. Pictured above and directly below are two visualizations of a possible future solar power satellite base on a "classic" reference design from NASA and the US Department of Energy. This would collect solar energy and convert it to electrical power using a vast photovoltaic solar array several kilometres across. The energy would then be beamed down to the ground via microwave transmission.

Future Visions Space-Based Solar Power Type I Angle CU

Using an alternative design, and as pictured below, some future space solar power satellites may beam their energy down to 'rectannas' on the ground using lasers rather than microwave transmitters. Here, as in the above image, the actual beam would in reality not be visible -- but it makes for a better image! :)

Future Visions Space-Based Solar Power Type II

As a third and highly feasible option, yet other solar power satellite designs may use vast arrays of mirrors to concentrate collected sunlight onto much smaller photovoltaic solar panels, with the energy once again
beamed down to the Earth via microwave.


For more information on space-based solar power, please see the Resources from Space page.

Images produced by and copyright (c) Christopher Barnatt 2014.

If you want to reproduce these images, please contact me.

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