The world’s appetite for electricity continues to grow and according to the US Department of Energy (DOE), will nearly double in the next 30 years. This increasing demand along with climate change, environmental and natural resource concerns are driving the need to develop clean and reliable sources of electricity on a scale that can replace fossil fuel and nuclear generation. Space solar power (SSP) could address the world’s future needs for clean baseload electricity.
Space solar power plants collect solar energy in geostationary earth orbit 24/7, convert it to radio frequency (RF) energy for transmission to an earth receive station, which converts the RF energy to electricity for delivery to utility customers via local power grids.
In 1979, SSP generated electricity was demonstrated to be technically achievable, but not economically viable by a DOE, NASA and industry team. In the 1990s, NASA conducted the SSP “Fresh Look” feasibility studies. NASA developed new SSP plant concept designs using power conversion technologies and orbital positions that were different than the 1979 Solar Power Satellite (SPS) efforts. Overall SSP system efficiency increased relative to the 1979 SPS design, but the concepts were still not economically viable. As a result, these SSP designs were cost prohibitive and never built.
Solaren – A New Approach for Space Solar Power
Solaren Corporation co-founders, Gary Spirnak and Dr. Jim Rogers created a revolutionary ultra lightweight SSP system. Previous SSP satellite designs all have a projected on-orbit mass of 15,000 to 30,000 metric tons for a gigawatt-class plant. Solaren created and patented an innovative lightweight SSP satellite design that weighs an order of magnitude less than prior concepts. From 2006 to 2015, Solaren has been issued patents for our breakthrough SSP system in the key space faring countries throughout the world.
The Path Forward
Solaren’s patented ultra-lightweight space solar power (SSP) system will for the first time enable delivery of clean, baseload electricity from space at costs that are competitive with terrestrial electricity generation. The next step will be the multi-million dollar Solaren SSP Engineering Design & Lab Demonstration Phase, which will refine the design and demonstrate system performance. Follow-on phases will rigorously test, on the ground and in space, all aspects of our SSP system. Our multi-billion dollar SSP development program, culminates with a 250 MW SSP Plant delivering clean baseload electricity to California within the decade.