How SBSP Will Work
  1. Solar satellite -- large arrays of photovoltaic cells mounted on a satellite that orbits the Earth
    • Sunlight will be captured and converted to electricity by photovoltaic panels. The same process as ground-based solar panels
    • Panels will remain in sunlight 24 hours a day, producing a constant source of base-load power
    • With no nighttime or atmospheric conditions, much more of the Sun's energy can be efficiently captured in space than on Earth
  2. Energy transmitted to earth
    • Even accounting for transmission losses, it is estimated that each satellite will be able to deliver a quantity of power similar to a traditional nuclear or coal-fired power plant
    • This energy will be safely transmitted by radio waves, similar to a wireless headset or wireless Internet connection
    • NASA conducted its first tests of wireless power transmission in 1975
  3. Energy received and distributed to end-users
    • The energy will be received on Earth by large, easy-to-assemble grids called rectennas
    • The transmitted radio waves have been proven safe for humans, though the rectenna area would remain uninhabited
    • The energy will be delivered to consumers, either locally or via existing energy grids
    • It is expected that over 90% of natural light will pass through the rectenna, allowing additional opportunities for other uses of the underlying ground (i.e. ground solar, crops for biofuels, etc.)

Space Energy