Space-Based Solar Arrays- A Future for Green Technology
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Space-based solar power systems are a green-energy technology that is coming to life. Green-energy sources, particularly solar, will need to evolve to carry the load of the expanding grid. Solar-panels are currently the most-prolific green-energy sources and space-based solar arrays put this green energy technology at the vanguard of clean and green production technology.
Wireless transmission of power from green-solar sources is something essential for our green-energy economy. Space-based solar arrays have a huge potential to change the world for the better by beaming energy that is clean and green to any location on Earth. Currently, engineers at Caltech are working with private industry to develop a system of satellites and spacecraft that are designed to create an array of solar-energy collecting surfaces to transmit energy from space to Earth.
Caltech engineers are working to create a way to beam solar energy from a collection point in space anywhere on Earth. The modular satellites and spacecraft work by collecting energy from the Sun in space and using thousands of small photovoltaic cells supported on the satellite and spacecraft surfaces. The energy collected would then be transmitted to a station on Earth where the power could be used conventionally. This technology is supported by folding solar arrays and a specially developed light solar tile unit that is designed for the job. The space-based solar arrays require further development in light-weight materials to hold the solar arrays and need to be tested in space.
The advantage of the Caltech solar power spacecraft project is that the units can be repositioned to beam clean solar power anywhere on Earth. Though this technology is being developed, the nature of the spacecraft and satellites that can beam energy is both clean and comprehensive. Areas that struggle with sustainable and clean energy production and utilization can be served by this technology, and pollution can be reduced where energy is produced by burning coal or other materials. We need to help those in developing nations to achieve clean-energy adoption, and this is a great first step.
Green-energy projects need to be practical. People around the world would prefer to use green-energy sources, but the cost can be prohibitive. As space-based solar system that can beam power to Earth evolve, we can make a meaningful impact on pollution reduction and foster further green-energy development. The infrastructure required for these space-based solar arrays must be built, and as it becomes more apparent this technology has a future it will be. The demand will spur further developments and partnerships between governments and private industry will begin.
This project is a great example of a University and private industry working together. Caltech, Northrup Grumman and the Irvine Company worked together to fund and pilot this effort. The test for this project will occur in December, and this is something I am interested in and watching closely.
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