Science 3 min read

China Plans To Build Solar Power Station in Space

If successful, this station would the first solar power plant in space. ¦ Vladi333 /

If successful, this station would the first solar power plant in space. ¦ Vladi333 /

In an attempt to take its renewable energy plans to new heights, China is building the first solar power station in space.

According to reports, the country has started constructing an early experimental space power plant in the in the inland city of Chongqing.

Not only is this a massive advancement for renewable energy goals, but it could change the way we live. Why is it a game changer, you ask?

A solar power station that’s orbiting the earth would have direct access to energy from the sun’s rays. That means, there’ll be no loss of energy to night time, seasons, or atmosphere.

Pang Zhihao, a researcher from the China Academy of Space Technology Corporation, told the Chinese media that space solar power station could provide an “inexhaustible source of clean energy for humans.

Alongside supplying energy 99 percent of the time, tapping solar power from space provides six-times the intensity of solar farms on earth, Zhihao said. As a result, this could eradicate many of the issues surrounding renewable energy storage, even the charging of our electric cars at any time and place.

So, when is China expected to launch the world’s first Solar Power Station?

A post in the Sydney Morning Herald reported the first solar power station would be small to medium-sized and launched into the stratosphere between 2021 and 2025. However, a bigger megawatt level station should follow in 2030.

According to the Vice President of China’s Academy of Space Technology, Li Ming, China would be the first country to launch a space power station that offers practical value.

Since a space solar power station involves well, building it in space, it’s easy to imagine the challenges this project faces. The most significant obstacle of course involces launching large structures from Earth into space.

However, with advancements in robotics, 3D printing technology, and a space factory, the researchers may overcome this obstacle.

How a Space Solar Power Works

Image via Jamie Brown

First, solar energy would be converted to electricity. Then, a laser beam or microwave would transmit the energy down to Earth.

It raises a health concern and makes you wonder if beaming microwave radiation from a power station in space is safe for the planet’s inhabitants. Well, the jury is still out on that.

The researchers revealed that there are still ongoing studies to understand the health risks of the project.

China is not the only country that’s trying to build a solar space station.

In 2018, California Institute of Technology scientists claimed to have created a prototype that can harness and transmit solar energy from space using lightweight tiles. Also, Japan, India, as well as other Europeans countries are working on similar projects.

Read More: China to Replace Streetlights With an Artificial Moon in 2020

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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    JAMES EDE February 19 at 8:56 am GMT

    Great piece. But the mode of manufacture is what I’m most fascinated about

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