An arm of the Department of Defense has concluded that acres of orbiting solar panels that beam electricity back to earth may not only be feasible, but cost competitive, not that oil prices are rising, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The sci fi fantasy power source has been talked about for decades, but the immense cost and technological barriers -- not to mention a fair amount of skepticism -- have kept the idea from taking hold.
The advantages of the systems are as clear as day -- unending day. Sunlight, unobstructed by clouds or the earth itself, would hit the photovoltaic cells round-the-clock. In just a year's time, such systems might generate as much.
The report estimated that in a single year, satellites in a continuously sunlit orbit could generate an amount of energy nearly equivalent to all of the energy available in the world's oil reserves. That, and it would come without generating any ongoing air pollution (after the stuff is manufactured and launched into space, that is -- neither of which are particularly clean processes).
Advocates say that the energy source could do wonders for our energy security, even turning the U.S. into a net exporter of energy. (However, you'd think some nation with advanced missile technology might have an incentive to challenge that notion.)
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