Japan is planning to build a solar power station in space within the next 30 years. It is expected to cost $21 billion. How will they do it?
Why do it?
Solar energy is said to be 10 times greater at the Earth’s edge and existing satellite systems already contain much of the technology needed to send this energy back to Earth. The Japanese government is expecting to be able to send power to 294,000 Tokyo homes by 2030. As fossil fuels are disappearing, this may be a renewable energy source of the future!
What will the solar power station look like?
The solar power station is supposed to be 4 square kilometers in size. It is to be a satellite covered with solar panels.
How will it send energy to Japan?
The solar panels on this power station would send the energy back to Japan via microwaves.
The leader of this project is the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Research participants include 16 businesses (including “thin-film photovoltaic module producer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, its solar cell and satellite-making sister company Mitsubishi Electric Corp, and Tokyo-based IHI Corp, which produces space development-related equipment.“) They are researching how to complete this project by the 2030s. There are estimates that costs still need to be cut by 100 times the current estimates, but they think it is very possible.
Could solar panels orbiting the Earth be the next big source of renewable energy?
Is this safe?
Japan is very hopefull.
Image Credit: Lynn (Gracie’s mom) – I’m here & there via flickr under a Creative Commons license
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