Trump Should Make Space-Based Solar Power A National Priority

If President Trump were to champion space-based solar energy as a means of delivering unlimited, renewable electricity from Earth orbit, it’s arguable that his administration could leave the U.S. and the world at large with a revolutionary new source of energy.

Space-based solar power (SBSP) — in which satellites in Earth orbit capture the Sun’s radiation, convert it to electricity and then transmit it back to Earth in the form of either microwaves or lasers — would arguably do more to positively impact the lives of everyday Americans and fellow citizens of the world than almost anything the new President could champion.

Some 30 percent of all incoming solar radiation never makes it to Earth’s surface, reports the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE). But, as the agency notes, in space, there’s no atmosphere, seasons or weather to diminish the collection of our star’s radiation.

The DOE notes that once such energy reaches Earth’s surface, it would then be collected by ground-based stations which would then add it to the existing electrical grid.

 If SBSP is pursued using microwave beaming, the DOE says a high geostationary orbit would necessitate a collecting area spanning some 3 kilometers and weighing over 80,000 metric tons with costs ranging into the billions of dollars. To make such a satellite feasible, the agency says the satellites would need to be self-assembling. The good news it says is that even one such satellite would be capable of generating several gigawatts of power in one fell swoop, or enough to power a city the size of Atlanta or Seattle.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *