- May 15, 2022 7:41 pm GMT
Today a state-of-the-art solar panel on Earth can convert between 20 to 30% of the energy it collects from sunlight into electricity. At night solar panels here contribute nothing. But in space with nothing to block the Sun, that same Earth-based solar panel becomes thirteen times more efficient. And that is enough of an incentive to consider solar power from space.
Two different approaches to delivering solar energy from space include building large solar power arrays placed in geosynchronous orbits, or constellations of smaller solar-power collecting satellites linked through a mesh network continuously streaming energy to receivers on Earth for distribution of electricity to the gird.
In part one of this two-part series, we look at geosynchronous solar power arrays: what do we need to build them and at what cost, and what impediments exist that could make the technology vulnerable.
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