Solar panels floating in space could one day power your home

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Longi Green Energy Technology Co., the world’s largest photo voltaic expertise producer, will ship panels into space as step one in plans to check the feasibility of harnessing the solar’s power in orbit and transmitting it again to Earth.

The Xi’an-based clear power large, which has helped China dominate the photo voltaic business and drive down prices, may also examine the usage of its merchandise in harsher environments, and assess their suitability to be used in space packages, it stated in a press release.

Longi’s determination to ascertain a laboratory centered on the duty could be a primary step in the photo voltaic sector’s collaboration with China’s space program and towards off-planet power stations, stated Wu Zhijian, president of the China Space Foundation, a government-backed company beneath the China National Space Administration.

The prospect of harnessing photo voltaic power from space is attracting consideration from business and teachers as a result of it guarantees to take away the expertise’s main downside — that panels don’t function successfully in darkness — by putting them into orbit with an unrestricted view of the solar.

Chinese researchers in Shaanxi’s Xidian University stated earlier this yr that that they had efficiently examined a full-system mannequin of a expertise designed to transmit photo voltaic power from outer space. Their mission captures daylight excessive above the bottom, converts it into microwave beams and transmits it by way of the air to a receiver station on the bottom to be transformed into electrical energy. It’s a course of advocates hope might be be expanded to cowl the lengthy distances from orbiting panels again to Earth.

Scientists on the California Institute of Technology additionally launched a space photo voltaic program after a $100 million grant in 2013, whereas groups in nations together with Japan, Russia and India are additionally finding out the chances

Longi’s new laboratory may also think about plans for power monitoring satellites and environmental verification from space.

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