The Future of Renewable Energy is Out of this World

The future of global renewable energy is looking bright, with 7 countries recently becoming 100% renewable energy operated, it is almost certain that things can only get better, thanks to solar panels in space!

Solar power is harnessed from the energy of the sun to create clean green electricity for our homes, businesses, and a vast array of our society’s infrastructure. As we know, the sun is not around for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at least in the UK. Therefore, solar generation can be depleted in these cases.

To combat this problem, we could see thousands of giant mirrors make their home in space to reflect sunlight onto solar farms on the Earth below.

This may seem like something straight out of a film or novel, but the concept is very much rooted in reality and is aiming to be up there within a year.

The European Space Agency

The ESA, devotees to space exploration, is currently developing the idea of DSR (direct sun reflection) which is a process of sunlight being sent back down to the planet during dawn and dusk.

The process can be applied to shining light on solar farms reflected from solar panels in space, potentially adding two hours of sunlight every day it has been calculated.

Solaris Initiative: Solar Panels in Space

Born from the mind of a company in Brussels called Arthur D. Little, this 4,000-mirror idea will shine light onto 30 solar farms residing on Earth.

It will be part of the ESA’s solar initiative which has set out to discover how solar power can be used in space.

Head of the Solaris initiative Dr Sanjay states:

We have been pleasantly surprised by the promise of this technology as a way of getting energy down from space.

We think at ESA that there is a place in the future for this concept. It doesn’t need to be so efficient because the sun doesn’t charge you for the energy.

Star Date, 2043…

As a proof-of-concept, mirrors could be up in orbit as early as 2025 followed by a target date of 2033 for commercial applications. Finally, a complete set of solar mirrors can be in place and in full operational order by the year 2043.

The head of innovation and practice at ADL has spoken ambitiously about the project:

Within two years of the start of the project it will be possible to launch a small-scale mirror to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept and by 2043, DSR will be fully operational.

Changing the Renewable Energy Space

Solar panels in space could have a wide range of implications for renewable energy generation, changing the effectiveness of solar power on cloudier days, maximising their use and possibly propelling the UK into a country that generates electricity 100% renewably. 

Billy Strickland
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