Solaris is a bold plan to beam solar energy to Earth from space with lasers

This bold plan by the European Space Agency sounds straight out of science fiction, something you could see opening up a movie set in the 2050s or beyond. But if the ESA gets their way, this futuristic energy collection system could become a reality, making space-based solar power a technology to help cleanly power the globe. 

Utilizing the much stronger and consistent solar power available in space, large solar arrays would be assembled by robots, and focused to beam power back to earth, where the energy would be stored and sent to the grid.

It’s indicative of the need to increase our scale and effectiveness of renewable energy, to combat climate change and create a sustainable energy future. The boldness of the Solaris system shows the ingenuity of harnessing solar, which is ten times as strong in space as it is on Earth.

This is not science fiction,” the space agency said. “The fundamental technologies are understood and are already being demonstrated on Earth and in space today.

ESA is performing an extensive concept study and will decide in 2025 whether to move forward with a large scale development program.

In addition to the European Space Agency, space-based solar power is also being studied by the US, China, and Japan.

The power is transmitted wirelessly in the form of microwaves at 2.45 GHz to dedicated receiver stations on Earth, called ‘rectennas’, which convert the energy back into electricity and feed it into the local grid.

Sunlight up in Earth orbit is ten times more intense than down on Earth’s surface, so the idea is to fly dedicated satellites to capture solar energy, then beam it down to Earth – and potentially the Moon or other planets further into the future.

Source: Moss and Fog