Solar Power Farms In Space – A Step Closer

In April this year, we reported that  harvesting solar power from space via orbiting solar farms could occur as soon as 2016 according to some proponents of the technology.

While that may have been a little optimistic, the concept is being taken very seriously by some major players.

According to a report on Bloomberg, Mitsubishi Electric Corp., a manufacturer of solar panels, will join an AUD $25 billion Japanese project to construct a gigantic solar farm in space within three decades.

According to Bloomberg, Japan is working on developing the technology for a 1-gigawatt solar farm, consisting of four square kilometers of solar panels that will be stationed 36,000 kilometers above the earth’s surface. One gigawatt of generation capacity would be enough to supply around 294,000 average Tokyo homes.

Prior to the deployment of the project, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), leaders of the project, will launch a small satellite decked out with solar panels in 2015 in order to test beaming electricity from space.

A division of JAXA, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) has already designed a model of the SPS2000 (pictured), a 10 megawatt demonstration solar-power satellite.

ISAS is also working on an experimental satellite plan for wireless power supply of several hundred kilowatts. Ground experiments are being conducted to examine the influence of high-voltage discharge necessary for large-capacity power generation in space and the impact of space debris.