Pacific Gas and Electric Seeks Aproval to Purchase 200 Megawatts of Space Solar Power

PG&E is seeking approval from state regulators for a power purchase agreement with Solaren Corp., a Southern California company that has contracted to deliver 200 megawatts of clean, renewable power over a 15 year period.

Solaren says it plans to generate the power using solar panels in earth orbit, then convert it to radio frequency energy for transmission to a receiving station in Fresno County.

Space Solar Power: The Next Frontier?

This is an important day for the future of space development. Space solar power is being taken seriously. Once the sale contract gets approved it will open the door to funding of a solar power satellite.

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One Response to Pacific Gas and Electric Seeks Aproval to Purchase 200 Megawatts of Space Solar Power

  1. Martha Adams says:

    I like the idea but what I’ve seen so far does not appear to my eye to be real engineering. Firstly, they say “space” but the idea seems ambiguous to me as its context seems equally good for solar arrays across desert surface. And I cannot feel the spacey array of equipment in space, which was featured on the cover of a recent AdAstra, represents any reality at all.

    That is because, power machinery requires *machines* of some sort. The PR says, “200 megawatts.” Think about that. Since a kilowatt is comparable to one inefficient horsepower (746 watts) the 200 megawatts machine is about 200,000 horsepower. Whatever machinery acquires that power and radiates it down to a pickup assembly somewhere on Terra, 200 megawatts of some really terrific super magnetrons or something might swallow 10 million amps at 20,000 volts. The efficiency could be pretty good *but* you can see the machinery must be large and solid. Since nothing of the sort appears in the spacey illustration I’m referencing, the remaining question is, well, *what is* the hardware to do this job?

    I think this is a very pressing question. There’s not much slack or movement room in today’s world, apart from economic issues; but out toward space, there’s some slack there. Which leads me to believe, this solar power idea is seriously urgent, thus, there’s a seriously urgent need for good information about it. And *that* is my big question when this PG&E and Solaren business comes up. Why is there not good technical illustration and information out there, where it’s so very much needed?

    Titeotwawki — Martha Adams 2009 April 22

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