Space Solar Plant Gets Go-Ahead

3 December 2009 (Last Updated December 3rd, 2009 18:30)

Regulators in California, US, have approved a utility contract for the nation’s first space-based solar power plant. The 200MW orbiting solar farm will convert solar energy collected in space into radio frequency waves, which will then be beamed to a ground station near Fresno, Californ

Regulators in California, US, have approved a utility contract for the nation’s first space-based solar power plant.

The 200MW orbiting solar farm will convert solar energy collected in space into radio frequency waves, which will then be beamed to a ground station near Fresno, California.

The radio waves will then be transformed back into electricity and fed into the power grid.

“This technology would offer around-the-clock access to clean renewable energy, and while there’s no doubt this project has many hurdles to overcome, both regulatory and technological, it’s hard to argue with the audacity of the project,” president of the California Public Utilities Commission Michael Peevey said, reports the New York Times.

A Southern California start-up called Solaren will loft components for the solar power plant into orbit and sell the electricity it generates to utilities Pacific Gas and Electric, under a 15-year contract.

The project is scheduled to start in 2016.