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Space-beamed solar power
Radley, Charles Frank Micro Aerospace Solutions, Inc., Portland, Oregon.
- Cost of construction and launch
- System components
- System assembly and construction
- System size
- System performance
- Advantages and disadvantages
- Current outlook
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Space-beamed solar power (SSP) is a concept based on a solar power satellite, that is, a solar panel orbiting high above the Earth that would be in almost continuous sunlight. A similar panel on the surface of the Earth would have greatly reduced power output as a result of cloud cover and night time. In geosynchronous Earth orbit (24-h period), a solar power satellite would appear stationary over a point on the Earth's equator, and would beam down power using either microwaves or lasers. On the ground the beam would be converted to usable electricity by a rectifying antenna or rectenna (Fig. 1). This system would emit no pollution or waste, and could provide 50–200 times as much power to the grid, for a given land area, than conventional terrestrial solar panels (assuming a cell efficiency of 10%, which is the current efficiency of most mass-produced cells).
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