More and more countries are interested in building solar farms. The largest in the world is in China and its power reaches up to 1000 MW. And how would you go even further and build such large installations in space?
This is the idea that the Middle Kingdom authorities came up with. But why build in space as soon as possible on Earth, and will it pay off? Of course, yes, at least that’s what the project scientists in Chongqing are doing. The point is that in space there are no such restrictions as they are on Earth.
Solar panels located on hundreds of interconnected satellites can collect energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, because there is no night in space. Also, weather phenomena will not affect the continuity of energy supply. The performance of even ordinary solar panels will be incomparably greater than on the surface of the Earth.
China has ambitious plans. And they can afford it, because right after the United States they have the largest budget for space exploration best technology advices. Already over the next 10 years, their companies want to send into orbit several hundred satellites that will create a constellation of solar farms.
China intends to build the first solar farm in space. Fig. CNSA.
If you think that they will power installations in orbit, then you are wrong. Their task will be to deal only with the collection and transmission of energy to Earth. The transmission is to take place thanks to lasers or infrared beams. Special ground stations will collect waves and deliver to households as electricity.
The Middle Kingdom does not intend to build solar cells on Earth. Factories are to be built in orbit, in which ready components will be built using 3D printers and installed by robots on an ongoing basis. The first experimental farm is to be placed in the stratosphere after 2021, and in space in 2030. Then it will have a capacity of 1 MW, but in 2050 even 3 GW. Scientists have calculated that the installation will weigh 1000 tons, which is half the size of the International Space Station.