Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Apr 24

Harvesting Solar Rays in Space

Posted in Energy Inventions | Future Technology | Solar Power

Space Solar Power When in distress we often look towards the heaven to find an answer to our problems. West coast energy giant, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is doing the same. They are heading towards heaven to trap the sources of renewable energy. This company’s main operations are in San Francisco and northern California. They are trying to get approval from US regulators to purchase 200 megawatts worth of solar energy delivered from solar panels located in space. There is nothing new in this proposal. Pentagon conducted a study on similar lines in 2007. Pentagon study concluded that satellite based solar power is feasible but not economical. It will cost a leg for potential consumers. But PG&E and its partner Solaren that will build the solar panels, quash those fears. They assure that their costs will be comparable to rates for other lines of renewable power. But how? They are not answering that! But Solaren claims it has developed a technology that would make it commercially viable within the next seven years.

Solaren CEO Gary Spimak said, “While a system of this scale and exact configuration has not been built, the underlying technology is very mature and is based on communications satellite technology.” For over 45 years, satellites have collected solar energy in Earth orbit via solar cells, and converted it to radio-frequency energy for transmissions to Earth-receive stations.”

The sky is really not the limit for PG&E. They are looking beyond that. Their plan is to put solar panels in space. These satellite solar cells would trap the sun’s rays 24 hours a day. If you are trying to capture sun ray’s in space you don’t have to fear about clouds or nights. Sun rays in space are available twenty four hours. After trapping the solar energy they would be converted to radio-frequencies that transmit to ground stations in Fresno County, California. We all know that this radio energy can be transformed into electricity and sent into the grid.

PG&E hopes to complete this project in 2016. The challenges are enormous. But now countries and companies both think and feel that space-based solar power (SBSP) can be answer to the clean and green energy and in the near future the technology will be affordable too. According to the agreement between PG&E and space solar power company Solaren, the solar panels will be built and put in place by 2016. PG&E wants to produce enough clean energy to fuel half a million homes.

Daniel Kammen, who is a professor of energy and resources at the University of California, Berkeley, sounds hopeful, “The ground rules are looking kind of promising … it is doable. Whether it is doable at a reasonable cost, we just don’t know.”

  • russ

    Daniel Kammen is correct – probably doable technically but economically? 2016 is dreaming unless they are talking about a small demo unit. To be of any significance they have to be talking about trillions of dollars. Bigger than the original space race and by a private company?

  • Dan Chance

    Stop it. Stop it NOW! You (PG&E) are smoking something stronger than hash. You are trying to complicate things or trying for something “sexy” to grab some federal or state dollars. Forget it. Put you shovel in the ground. Dig some footings for solar farms on the earth. For a mere pittance you can achieve more, faster than with your false hopes of solar collectors in space. Forget space. This planet is the only habitable rock with reach of anyone with a normal lifespan. I mention other planets because the only reason for pushing for a space based energy solution is to prepare to move to another planet. If a massive asteroid destroys earth then the show’s over. Deal with it.

  • Francisco A Roque

    I wish Dan would know a bit more than that… and learn to at least produce his own electricity like I am doing, there’s so much information on the suppressed inventions, and as for other planets, we have at least 57 different races here on earth of them, so let’s not go there and thank God for them, for they are helping us.


  • russ

    Francisco – What suppressed inventions? This old shoe is so silly as to be a joke.

    Most inventions are dropped as they turn out to be not such a good idea after more thought or a trial but suppressed – No.

  • Dan Chance

    I not only praise you for producing your own electric but encourage everyone to do the same to make it happen even if you think you can’t afford it. (Only available in USA states that have net metering.) As for other races and other planets. All races will benefit by pursuing earth bound solutions until a day comes when we can resettle our species on another rock in space but we will never be safe from the 3D billiard table physics of debris from a thousand supernova flying in every direction. I’m more interested in the need for clean energy so we can continue to inhabit this planet and drink its waters and delight in its blue skies and pleasant breezes. Be well Francisco.

  • John Canivan

    Obama has the right idea, now all we have to do is make alternative energy applications practical. DIY solar heating applications are very cost effective.

  • Ryan Engelhardt

    SOLAR POWER! We have such vast amounts of desert space. Why isn’t it being utilized?

  • Jon

    I think this is going in the wrong direction. We should look at increasing solar efficiency on earth using plants (nature’s original collectors) rather than putting our hopes in something that could be pie in the sky.


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