China is planning to build a solar power station with an approximate size of around 12 of Beijing’s Tienanmen Square which is the largest public square in the world. The idea is inspired by a 1941 science fiction story by Isaac Asimov in which a space station transmitted the solar energy to earth using microwaves. The solar station of China will be working on the same principle with a collector on the Earth to receive the microwaves.
The project is extremely ambitious but if materialized would not only help reduce smog and greenhouse gases but also solve the energy crisis on Earth as the space based station will produce 10 times the energy per unit area produced by ground based solar panels with the total area of the solar panels reaching 5 to 6 sq km.
However, the project faces few huge difficulties!
For the space power station to be commercially viable, it has to weigh around 10,000 tons and to find a rocket that can carry such a huge payload for low earth orbit is a challenge. The solar panels needed for the power station have to be thin and very light as well.
Wang says ” whoever obtains the technology first could occupy the future energy market.”