Solar Farms Aren't Science Fiction

By: Jill Cordes
By: Jill Cordes

Here on earth, the sun only shines during the day. But what if we could beam the sun's energy 24/7 to power plants on Earth? Now, that technology may actually be on the horizon.

One company says it's figured out a way to capture and beam solar energy from space to power homes. Solaren, based in Southern California, plans to put satellites into orbit by 2016 to collect solar energy. The sunlight would then be sent to a ground station by radio frequency waves and converted into electricity.

Since the sun shines all the time in space, a solar satellite farm could supply renewable electricity around the clock. And it would have no geographic limitations, meaning clean solar power for the whole country, even on those short winter days or in places with limited renewable resources.

Space-based solar isn't a new idea, but it's never been this close to a reality. Surprisingly, the biggest hurdle hasn't been transmitting the energy to Earth. It's building satellites big enough to collect all that sun.


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