Could satellites be used to collect energy and beam it to Earth?

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Harsh Maheshwari

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Harsh Maheshwari  asked the Naked Scientists:

Is it possible to harness solar energy from space where there is 24 X 7 sunlight? Satellites with huge solar panels could be sent to space from where they can transfer the energy in the form of micro-waves or some other mode. will it be economically viable ?

New Delhi, India

What do you think?



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I always have a problem with this idea.
On Earth we have loadsa solar power. There may be two or three times the usable amount in space because of the day/night thing and the atmosphere absorbing some energy BUT the cost of putting equipment in space is enormous - in money and in energy terms. And any method of getting the energy down here would be very inefficient.
We have acres of space down here for Solar Power schemes which would be much much cheaper to build and infinitely cheaper to repair when they go wrong.
Really, what would be the point?


Offline Pumblechook

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It is very impractical.  There were would several problems to solve and the cost getting thosuands of ton of gear up there would be literally 'out of this world'.   And all for a 1 - 2 GW station which is a tiny fraction of the World's needs.

Easier to build a bridge across the Atlantic.