The space solar power concept is based on a theoretically simple to install solar panels in geostationary orbit and pass through a microwave or laser energy achieved at a ground station, then to distribute the net. The idea was raised in the 70's of the twentieth century, but their high cost made it unfeasible. At present, the search for new and clean energy, before the coming end of oil, and the advancement of technology, make it interesting again.
Obtaining the benefits of solar energy from space have once again invited one to consider: is that light is almost around the clock, without the hindrance of clouds or bad weather, and able to get eight times more energy than terrestrial solar cells. According to a study by the Institute of Energy Research of the U.S., a km2 of solar panels in orbit in a year would receive more energy than all the known oil reserves.
Moreover, their claim that they like the terrestrial solar energy is a clean and inexhaustible source, in this case, flexible and secure because it would not be necessary complex intercontinental power grids and blackouts would be virtually nil, even in extreme conditions.
Therefore, several initiatives to demonstrate that it is a viable idea that needs more support. In United States, the Association for the development of this type of energy transmitted via microwave energy recently between the islands of Maui and Hawaii, 148 kilometers distant. Its chairman, John, this show looks to convince potential investors that they bear the almost 5,000 million euros to launch a pilot plant for between five and ten megawatts by 2018.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Space Agency (NASA) has a project with a budget of around four million euros in the deck system 23 different proposals to establish its economic viability. In the private sector, the California Space Island in India wants to test their satellite sites. Similarly, the International Space Station, whose completion date is scheduled for 2010, could be used to test for the first time this system.
Besides the U.S., other countries are also interested. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the University Institute of Laser Engineering of Osaka in 2030 want to have a system of giant solar collectors in orbit capable of producing enough power for half a million homes. At the moment testing the transmission of microwave energy in the aerospace park in Hokkaido. For its part, the European Space Agency also takes years to study this system, also working with Japan. In 2004 began a feasibility study on potential technologies.
Last year, a consortium formed by the U.S. Department of Defense and a group of Swiss-German company reported on a project to test a solar energy system in the Palau Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Its aim was to put into orbit for a few panels of a 2012 Megawatts, capable of supplying energy to a few thousand homes. According to its makers, the project could cost around 625 million euros.