Jul 23, 2019 | Updated: 09:13 AM EDT

Solar Panels In Space Is The Next Frontier

Mar 10, 2019 08:19 PM EDT

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Solar Panels in Space
(Photo : https://pixabay.com/photos/photovoltaic-photovoltaic-system-2138992/)

Solar farms have become a familiar sight across countries all over the world. The acceleration of the green revolution has brought people's attention to the many possible ways they can help save the environment. But China plans to take solar power to the next level. The Nation has announced its desire to put a solar power station in space to harness the Sun's energy. They are currently looking at the best possible way to beam such energy back to Earth.

Since the sun shines all day every day in space, the solar power from the space station is seen as the best form of alternative energy, not to mention that it is totally renewable too.

"There is no such thing as day or night or clouds getting in the way. The Earth may end up with nine times more energy directly from the source," said Ali Hajimiri, a professor of Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology. He also stands as the director of the Space Solar Power Project.

The road to making this project possible won't come cheap. The development of the hardware that will capture the energy and transmit it back to Earth as well as the launching it the shuttle in space can be costly. But China is determined to bring it forward. In fact, the nation already started to build a testing facility in Chongqing to help determine the best way the harnessed energy from the sun can be transmitted back to earth for use.

The idea of having a solar power facility in space isn't exactly a new idea. It first emerged as an alternative source of renewable energy back in the 1970s. Researches about it were stalled because the technological demands of the project were thought to be too complex it is nearly impossible. But the advances in wireless transmission as well as the work on the improvement of the design efficiency of photovoltaic cells, seems to change the name of the game.

"We're revisiting an old idea and we probably have more ability now to make it happen, thanks to advances in technology," said John Mankins, a physicist who spearheaded the NASA efforts in the 1990s.

The growth in China's population might also be a factor that drives new interest in the idea of a space agency to collect solar power. The study, if pushed, could be the answer to the global demands for energy. After all, there are a lot of countries in the world that are not particularly sunny all year round.

"If the sun's energy was harvested in a place where the sun shines all day and deliver such energy with no interruptions on Earth -- and do all that at an affordable rate -- everyone wins," said Mankins.

Not only will the facility be the largest of its kind, but it will bring about renewed trust in how technology advancement can save the world.

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