Can you imagine having solar panel farms in space?

With the way technology has advanced, improved, and been continually innovated throughout the age,s I wouldn’t doubt such possibilities.

In the 1950s, AT&T Bell Laboratories began using solar cells to power their satellites. In fact, even until today, solar cells continue to power space machines and devices.

People are full of creativity and imaginative ideas that were once thought far-fetched, yet now may be easily at the tips of our fingers. With time, research, dedication, persistence, and belief, so many wild ideas will come to life. The solar panel farm, in my mind, is one of those ideas.

Imagine having orbital generators providing clean and renewable energy in space. That would be an amazing feat that could solve the problems related to fossil fuels. In a world where limited resources are available and produced too slowly to keep up with the demands of society, solar power in space may be the resolution we’re searching for.

Due mainly to cost (and possibly as a bizarre idea), the concept of having a solar panel farm in space has been overlooked by most, but not all. Did you know that Japan has plans to create a prototype within the next 20 years? Their current goal is to place an orbital solar-powered generator in space anticipated to transmit one gigawatt of energy to Earth by 2030.

“We’re doing this research for commonsense reasons—as a potential solution to the challenges posed by the exhaustion of fossil fuels and global warming,” says Hiroaki Suzuki of JAXA’s Advanced Mission Research Center.

Since there are no clouds in space and no differentiation between day and night, sunlight is available around the clock. This means greater efficiency and zero concerns about weather.

One thing they hope to find is a material that can convert sunlight into laser light efficiently, since the objective is to send the energy collected from space down to the Earth’s surface in microwave or laser form. Currently, an yttrium-aluminum-garnet ceramic material containing neodymium and chromium is being studied for that purpose.

 

The projected cost for this project (which may be billions upon billions) is negligible to the Japanese team of scientists, since the possible reward of making things like this possible is far greater than any price.

“We can’t know whether this is feasible or not if we don’t have the basic technology first. We’re aiming to produce stable, cheap power and hydrogen at a target price of 6.5 cents per kilowatt-hour,” says Suzuki.

What if our world were to approach fossil fuel depletion just like the movies, games, and Japanese animation series portray? What then? I’m quite thankful that there are people in this world who continually try to make beneficial and positive ideas come to life despite failure after failure of testing and sketchbook drafting.

If not for the people who put their ideas to life, we wouldn’t have electricity to begin with – which means photovoltaic cells and panels would not exist.

Light a candle by five in the evening every day? I’m glad all I have to do is flip a switch.