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Europe studies space solar energy

Europe studies space solar energy

The European Space Agency (ESA) believes that solar panels in space could be a solution to the continent’s energy problems. But technology becomes expensive and complex.

With skyrocketing electricity prices and uncertain gas supplies from Russia, it is clear that the EU needs to increase its domestic production of green electricity. Now the European Space Agency (ESA) is looking into the possibilities of space solar energy. Writes Ars Technica.

The idea is that dozens of satellites capture solar radiation at a distance of 36 thousand kilometers from Earth. The energy then must be sent to the Earth’s surface using microwaves, all the way to the solar cell or antenna. But a single system would have a mass at least 10 times greater than the ISS. And to get the material into orbit, perhaps thousands of launches with heavy rockets would be needed.

recently published ESA Two commissioned studies in which consulting firms reviewed what technology could offer for cost, as a basis for decision-making by relevant authorities.

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The conclusion is that the solution could cover a quarter to a third of the roughly 3,000 TWh that Europe consumes annually. However, the cost will reach hundreds of billions of euros.

We suggest now ESA Create Solaris, a program to develop potential technologies and enable the policy decisions needed to make space solar energy a reality. At Solaris, the benefits and risks of the concept should also be reviewed.

Not everyone believes in solar energy in space. For example, Elon Musk previously dismissed the solution as “the dumbest thing ever.” The founder of Spacex noted that, through activities in the field of space as well as solar energy, he could have been involved in this concept if it was an interesting path.

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