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Clean Power http://www.next100.com/2009/04/space-solar-power-the-next-fro.php

Published on April 18th, 2009 | by Lucille Chi

23

Space Based Solar Power Satellite Program from PG&E and Solaren in California

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April 18th, 2009 by
 

Now PG&E in California, is planning to take their ability to tap renewable energy to a whole new level: solar power in space.“Solaren says it plans to generate the power using solar panels in earth orbit, then convert it to radio frequency energy for transmission to a receiving station in Fresno County. From there, the energy will be converted to electricity and fed into PG&E’s power grid.” ~ Next100.com

Solaren hopes to begin launching before 2016. The satellites will deploy the solar panels so they dock automatically together in orbit, resulting in an orbital power plant weighing roughly 25 tons if back here on Earth.

The advantages of space solar power include:

  • energy that can be harnessed at all times, even at night or when it’s cloudy.
  • baseload power delivery that makes efficient electricity possible for meeting customer demand.
  • an underlying technology that is mature since it is based on communications satellite technology.

Before all this happens however, PG&E needs approval from the California State Legislature, through the California Public Utilities Commission for this Solaren Space Based Energy Contract. Currently, Solaren is preparing to launch space rockets containing the solar panels and they have been working with United Launch Alliance (a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and The Boeing Company) on such launches.Solaren Corporation, is a start-up company nearly a decade old based in southern California that:

  • consists of a number of aerospace engineers.
  • has headquarters located in Manhattan Beach and Los Angeles County, California.
  • expects to launch four or five heavy-lift rockets containing the solar panels.

A competitor of Solaren is a company called Space Energy formed to harness solar energy from space using similar techniques. Solar energy from space has never been captured commercially, mostly because the cost was always considered too high. Daniel Kammen, professor in energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley, told the Guardian: “The ground rules are looking kind of promising … it is doable. Whether it is doable at a reasonable cost, we just don’t know.” ~Telegraph.co.uk

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About the Author

Lucy Chi loves good green design, ethical fashion, environmental art and education, renewables, holistic healing and more. She has been dedicating her energies toward finding and drawing attention to all the ways in which products, companies, and industries are moving toward creating a more sustainable world on the global scale, as well as the way individuals are moving toward living sustainably, and healing at the personal level. Sustainability studies: PresidioMBA.org & B.S. Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, Dept. of Textiles and Fiber Science. Contact: lucillechi (at) gmail.com



  • Dick Beaker

    Recently a question was asked about this on The Naked Scientists.
    http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=35774.msg333684#new

  • LM

    Wind power kills birds. Not that the government prosecutes this “clean energy” source, even for the deaths of the golden eagles.

  • LM

    Wind power kills birds. Not that the government prosecutes this “clean energy” source, even for the deaths of the golden eagles.

  • http://savemoneysaveearth.blogspot.com Lee

    I like your thoughts about solar power. Truthfully though, I never thought of solar power as being so negative, and I still cannot think of it as negative until I do and find the appropriate research for myself to deem it so. Nonetheless, I like your idea, if we can harness the natural sources on earth and use them, then why not? Natural sources, such as, the wind and the water. Do you know you can learn how to make your own wind power system…that actually works?

  • http://savemoneysaveearth.blogspot.com Lee

    I like your thoughts about solar power. Truthfully though, I never thought of solar power as being so negative, and I still cannot think of it as negative until I do and find the appropriate research for myself to deem it so. Nonetheless, I like your idea, if we can harness the natural sources on earth and use them, then why not? Natural sources, such as, the wind and the water. Do you know you can learn how to make your own wind power system…that actually works?

  • Michael

    Talk about doublethink! They want us to believe that burning fossil fuels is causing global warming so we switch to solar, wind, geothermal, etc. People’s perception of capturing solar energy for electricity production is squeaky clean. So how could solar panels in space be any different? Well I’ll tell you.

    Solar energy is being diverted to the earth that would normally pass it by.

    This idea certainly would cause man made global warming since the earth would be receiving more solar energy than it would naturally. It doesn’t matter that it’s being converted to radio waves for transmission. Energy is energy. It cannot be created or destroyed. Once that extra energy is here on earth, it’s up to the earth to rid itself of it. There’s no debating that this idea would cause man made global warming.

    There are already sufficient amounts of solar energy hitting the earth’s surface that we can harness. What we need to work on is better energy storage. There exists today upper and lower reservoirs where water is pumped up when demand is low, and allowed to flow down to produce electricity when the demand is high.

    We need smaller residential type systems so that the stored energy is close to the consumer, reducing the need for transmission lines over long distances. I don’t like the idea of conventional batteries because you have to dispose of them when they die. A system of electrolyzing water, storage and fuel cell would be more desirable.

    I really hope this idea gets shut down before any large amounts of money are wasted on it.

  • Michael

    Talk about doublethink! They want us to believe that burning fossil fuels is causing global warming so we switch to solar, wind, geothermal, etc. People’s perception of capturing solar energy for electricity production is squeaky clean. So how could solar panels in space be any different? Well I’ll tell you.

    Solar energy is being diverted to the earth that would normally pass it by.

    This idea certainly would cause man made global warming since the earth would be receiving more solar energy than it would naturally. It doesn’t matter that it’s being converted to radio waves for transmission. Energy is energy. It cannot be created or destroyed. Once that extra energy is here on earth, it’s up to the earth to rid itself of it. There’s no debating that this idea would cause man made global warming.

    There are already sufficient amounts of solar energy hitting the earth’s surface that we can harness. What we need to work on is better energy storage. There exists today upper and lower reservoirs where water is pumped up when demand is low, and allowed to flow down to produce electricity when the demand is high.

    We need smaller residential type systems so that the stored energy is close to the consumer, reducing the need for transmission lines over long distances. I don’t like the idea of conventional batteries because you have to dispose of them when they die. A system of electrolyzing water, storage and fuel cell would be more desirable.

    I really hope this idea gets shut down before any large amounts of money are wasted on it.

  • grey eminence

    Solaren is pie in the sky. The physics and reality

    make their concept a scam !!

  • grey eminence

    Solaren is pie in the sky. The physics and reality

    make their concept a scam !!

  • stephen russell

    Problems:

    Space debris

    politics?

    Too few Spaceplanes

    Time to R&D spaceplanes

    Building array- but use ISS as Experience base

    Funding

    Pvt venture

    & Next Lunar Mining.

    & need Improved fuels for rockets into Space

    or Space elevators

    In space Nuclear rockets?

    Field Resonance drive spacecraft

    Ion drive.

    Controlling space solar array

    hackers into system

    Otherwise doable & be a super Job source alone

  • stephen russell

    Problems:

    Space debris

    politics?

    Too few Spaceplanes

    Time to R&D spaceplanes

    Building array- but use ISS as Experience base

    Funding

    Pvt venture

    & Next Lunar Mining.

    & need Improved fuels for rockets into Space

    or Space elevators

    In space Nuclear rockets?

    Field Resonance drive spacecraft

    Ion drive.

    Controlling space solar array

    hackers into system

    Otherwise doable & be a super Job source alone

  • stephen russell

    Plan for Space Solar Power needs:

    Orbital Station for work crews & then later maint cres

    EV Pods

    Spaceplanes- NOT space shuttles

    SSTO shuttle rockets

    Launch sites

    Recovery sites

    & Markets for Space Solar Power to:

    The Globe

    Or No Mexico, Chile, Argentina, So Africa, NZ, Norway, Sweden etc.

  • stephen russell

    Plan for Space Solar Power needs:

    Orbital Station for work crews & then later maint cres

    EV Pods

    Spaceplanes- NOT space shuttles

    SSTO shuttle rockets

    Launch sites

    Recovery sites

    & Markets for Space Solar Power to:

    The Globe

    Or No Mexico, Chile, Argentina, So Africa, NZ, Norway, Sweden etc.

  • http://www.feelgoodstyle.com Lucille

    Well fellas, I’m no aerospace engineer but I think this would make a perfect case study for anyone interested in the subject..

  • http://www.feelgoodstyle.com Lucille

    Well fellas, I’m no aerospace engineer but I think this would make a perfect case study for anyone interested in the subject..

  • Mark

    I remember back in Sim City 2000 (or maybe 3000) you could generate electricity using a space-based solar power generator that “beamed” the power back to earth as microwaves. Every once in a while the beam would “miss” and set fire to a building. This just reminded me of it, heh.

    On a more serious note, I’m also curious to know about the conversion losses, news releases always seem to leave out the most important parts (not necessarily CT’s fault).

  • Mark

    I remember back in Sim City 2000 (or maybe 3000) you could generate electricity using a space-based solar power generator that “beamed” the power back to earth as microwaves. Every once in a while the beam would “miss” and set fire to a building. This just reminded me of it, heh.

    On a more serious note, I’m also curious to know about the conversion losses, news releases always seem to leave out the most important parts (not necessarily CT’s fault).

  • russ

    Good Mike – there has to be plenty of experience and data about this from the spacecraft the panels have been used on.

    The facts (as known today) about this would go far to giving it credibility.

  • russ

    Good Mike – there has to be plenty of experience and data about this from the spacecraft the panels have been used on.

    The facts (as known today) about this would go far to giving it credibility.

  • Mike

    I watched the movie. They mentioned the initial cost of launching the rocket but didn’t mention the carbon created from it. I’m sure in the long run it’ll be well offset but I think they would do well to refute the strongest counter argument.

    They also mentioned 6-8 times more efficient but I would appreciate if they would discuss the conversion losses. This is the third blog I’ve seen this mentioned but nobody knows the conversion losses.

  • Mike

    I watched the movie. They mentioned the initial cost of launching the rocket but didn’t mention the carbon created from it. I’m sure in the long run it’ll be well offset but I think they would do well to refute the strongest counter argument.

    They also mentioned 6-8 times more efficient but I would appreciate if they would discuss the conversion losses. This is the third blog I’ve seen this mentioned but nobody knows the conversion losses.

  • russ

    Could be interesting but if anything happens in the next 10 years and if anything significant happens in 20 I will be pleasantly surprised.

  • russ

    Could be interesting but if anything happens in the next 10 years and if anything significant happens in 20 I will be pleasantly surprised.

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