Bizmag on May 13, 2014 published on Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) developing a complex roadmap for solar energy. It involves a 1 GW extraterrestrial solar farm, a microwave beam and a man-made island in the Tokyo harbor which could be used collect solar energy in space and supply power to Earth by 2040. Excerpts below:
It was just over 40 years ago that the concept of a solar power satellite (SPS) first emerged. American scientist and aerospace engineer Dr. Peter Glaser won a patent for a broadcast system using a one-square kilometer antenna to channel power via microwaves to a receiver on the ground. The advantage of such a system, and space-based solar power in general, is that it harnesses the unobstructed output of the sun, unlike land-based solar systems which are affected by the weather and Earth’s day/night cycle.
While Glaser’s proposal never got off the ground, it did inspire further investigation of the potential of space-based solar power by various government departments and institutions
JAXA is working on two concepts. The simpler one involves a huge square panel that measures 2 km (1.24 mi) per side. The top surface would be covered with photovoltaic elements, with transmission antennas on the bottom side. A small bus housing controls and communication systems would be tethered to the panel via 10 km (6.2 mi) long wires. A limitation with this design is that the orientation of the panel is fixed, meaning that as the Earth and the satellite spin, the amount of sunlight the panel receives will vary, impacting its ability to generate power.
Comment: Space based solar energy is the way forward to solve the growing need for more electric power.