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Satellites to beam solar power from space

Cutting out the interfering clouds by rising above them
By J Mark Lytle, Tokyo /Via Nikkei, June 28, 2009

Solar power is an undeniably great idea, but it soon runs into trouble when clouds roll in to block the Sun’s rays. Which is why we could soon be looking at moving the panels into space way beyond the pesky old atmosphere.  The plan is already in motion in Japan, where the government is soliciting for firms to build the hardware required to get giant solar panels into orbit.

Ready by 2030
By next month, the goal is to have the necessary partners in place for the real planning to begin, with a goal of supplying solar power from space by 2030. For the scheme to work, the various parties involved will have to not just get the solar satellites into space, but also beam the power down to Earth in the form of microwaves.

Beam me down
Initial testing will focus on short-range wireless power transmission, building slowly to reach the 36,000km needed to bridge the gap between geostationary satellites and ground stations.