A space-based solar electricity program could soon power the Californians’ homes. The project belongs to the state’s biggest energy company, PG&E, and it aims to generate 200 megawatts in the next 15 years. The company hopes that its plans will become operational until 2016 and is now trying to establish a partnership with a company called Solaren.
“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,” Solaren CEO Gary Spirnak said, in announcing their move.
The scientists claim that such a program presents advantages over terrestrial systems since solar energy can be harvested around the clock and is never obscured by clouds or bad weather.
“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,” he said.
The solar satellite that belong to the Solaren company could have a number of mirrors with an area of several square kilometers, which would direct sunlight to the photovoltaic cells. The technology so far is sufficiently mature for such a project to be viable, possibly because the satellites have been collecting solar energy through solar cells for a long time now.