zondag 26 april 2009

US power company to tap solar energy in space

San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) is planning to buy solar power beamed to earth from space, local newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Solaren plans to generate the power using solar panels in earth orbit, and then convert it to radio frequency energy for transmission to a receiving station in California's Fresno County. From there, the energy will be converted to electricity and fed into PG&E's power grid.

Under the purchase agreement, Solaren will deliver 200 megawatts of clean, renewable power starting from 2016. One megawatt of electricity generally is enough to power 750 to 1,000 homes.

According to Gary Spirnak, Solaren's CEO, a group of about 10 former satellite and aerospace engineers, was confident in the technology and timing behind the venture.
He also said that the science behind the orbiting solar farms was little different to that of communications satellites.

Spirnak said he was seeking in the low billions of dollars in investment. So he will face a difficult task raising funds for his project though, especially in this time of global economic recession.

It concerns here about a lot of money. So I think they have to be quite sure that they will produce the amount of green energy that they have put forward in the future. In order to have the investment back after a period of time.

An other aspect of this is to make sure we don’t bring more energy to the planet than it would naturally absorb. Otherwise, we end up with the same global warming problem we have with fossil fuels. And I don’t think that this is the intention!

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/apr/16/solar-energy-farms-space

Dominique Van Huffel

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