Frequently Asked Questions
Please see below our most frequently asked questions. If you don’t see the answer you need, please don’t hesitate to get in touch
In theory it could supply all of the world’s energy in 2050. There is sufficient room in orbit for the solar power satellites, and the Sun’s supply of energy is vast – a narrow strip around Geostationary Earth Orbit receives more than 100 times the amount of energy per year that all of humanity is forecast to use in 2050. In practice for resilience we will always seek to have diversity of energy supply, and Space Based Solar Power integrates really well alongside the intermittent technologies like wind and ground solar.
Whilst this is a very ambitious engineering development programme, the laws of physics are well understood and there are viable commercial concepts. It is not as difficult as Nuclear Fusion.
There are challenges; the main one is building the very large structure in space, which has not been done before. Secondly the wireless power beaming has not been done at this scale from space, though experiments on earth have repeatedly proven the principles. Thirdly, establishing the international regulations and standards which will be required to develop and operate these systems sustainably and responsibly will require major international collaboration.
But, nothing worth doing, and with the expected impact of space-based solar power, has ever been easy. This is an era-defining programme, which will change our future.
These very large satellites are quite different from existing monolithic satellites. They are made up of hundreds of thousands of small identical modules produced in factories on earth (think iPhones or laptops), and will be assembled in space by autonomous robots. The same robots would carry out periodic maintenance by replacing failed modules. The satellites are designed from the outset to be serviced in this way. This assembly technology is already being tested in space by a number of companies.