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Space Japan Power

How Japan Plans To Build Orbital Solar Power Stations 230

Posted by timothy
from the start-up-and-build-down dept.
the_newsbeagle (2532562) writes "Solar power stations in orbit aren't exactly a new idea — Asimov set one of his stories on such a space station back in 1941. Everyone thinks it's a cool idea to collect solar power 24 hours a day and beam it down to Earth. But what with the expense and difficulty of rocketing up the parts and constructing and operating the stations in orbit, nobody's built one yet. While you probably still shouldn't hold your breath, it's interesting to learn that Japan's space agency has spec'd out such a solar power station."
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How Japan Plans To Build Orbital Solar Power Stations

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  • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Friday April 25, 2014 @12:24PM (#46842511) Homepage

    > First, you don’t have to worry about your power going out at night

    But that's not a problem we actually have. Baseload power is currently selling for 2 to 3 cents, peak power is up into the 20's. No one is going to build a space-o device to provide something we have trouble giving away.

    > cells in space should be more efficient then cells buried underneath the atmosphere

    Actually, the opposite is true. Cells, silicon ones anyway, are more efficient under the air. It has to do with their band gap.

    > Beaming power to remote locations could be more efficient then hauling fuel

    The problem is that all you're doing is replacing the array of solar panels with an array of dipoles. The increase in energy density is about 50%, so you need a field that's almost as big as normal PV. There's really no advantage here.

  • by ubergeek2009 (1475007) on Friday April 25, 2014 @12:39PM (#46842655)

    The power will be transmitted as microwaves, which aren't scattered by the atmosphere as easily as visible light.

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