Japanese Launch $21 Billion Space Solar Power Project

solar_power_satellite_concept

Mitsubishi, IHI to Join $21 Bln Space Solar Project
Bloomberg News

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and IHI Corp. will join a 2 trillion yen ($21 billion) Japanese project intending to build a giant solar-power generator in space within three decades and beam electricity to earth.

A research group representing 16 companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., will spend four years developing technology to send electricity without cables in the form of microwaves, according to a statement on the trade ministry’s Web site today.

“It sounds like a science-fiction cartoon, but solar power generation in space may be a significant alternative energy source in the century ahead as fossil fuel disappears,” said Kensuke Kanekiyo, managing director of the Institute of Energy Economics, a government research body.

Japan is developing the technology for the 1-gigawatt solar station, fitted with four square kilometers of solar panels, and hopes to have it running in three decades, according to a 15- page background document prepared by the trade ministry in August. Being in space it will generate power from the sun regardless of weather conditions, unlike earth-based solar generators, according to the document. One gigawatt is enough to supply about 294,000 average Tokyo homes.

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  • Buyck

    This is really coming reality! I think its not such a bad idea. Bud i have my doubts about the eventually mechanical problems or damage on the solarpanels. I think is expensive to conserve it.

  • By all means this is a step that somebody on Earth needed to take (ASAP, if one is conscious of the energy crisis ahead).

    The set-up includes serious enough players to negotiate the challenges of the undertaking. Certainly their action will create some significant momentum on tangent technologies, notably transportation, robotic assembly and servicing, teleoperation technologies etc.

    We at GEORING Services feel very enthusiastic on the prospects of contributing to such a system by the means of the HERMES system for on-orbit servicing, as the concept system stands today and as it may evolve from the pulling effects of the solar power project.

    Such project will also make more evident the benefits of serious investment in space transportation infrastructure. It might also facilitate exploration & industrialization of the Moon, since energy is also there a scarce resource for the time being and critical for kick-starting any type of activities there.

    Overall this action might be more catalytic that it sounds to many at this stage.

    CONGRATULATIONS to those who have had the vision and those who have undertaken the practical steps for implementing this project !.

  • Chris

    This is a completely impractical solution, even if you can get past all the technical challenges. Here’s one response:

    http://selfdestructivebastards.blogspot.com/2009/09/space-based-solar-power.html