Space-Based Solar Power could be developed by 2040, helping drive Net Zero emissions

Sau Ting Kwok - Hong Kong

Sau Ting Kwok - Hong Kong

A report published by the UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has concluded that Space-Based Solar Power is technically feasible, economically viable, and could be developed by 2040.

Space-Based Solar Power is a clean source of sustainable baseload power at scale, 24 hours per day, 365 days of the year.

And unlike wind and terrestrial solar, power is delivered regardless of the weather. It doesn’t care if it is calm or windy, sunny or overcast. It is a credible addition, or alternative, to baseload nuclear and gas power stations fitted with carbon capture. 

The independent study undertaken by systems, engineering and technology company, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, looked at the technical feasibility, cost and economics of Space-Based Solar Power as a new generation technology that could provide safe, sustainable power for the UK. 

The report found that with the falling cost of space launch, new solar power satellite designs and advancing technology in photovoltaics, power beaming and robotics, Space-Based Solar Power is now technically feasible and affordable and could support Net Zero pathways. 

Moreover, the development investment could bring substantial economic benefits for the UK, which strongly outweigh the costs.

“This report sets out how solar energy from space is both technically viable and affordable. We are committed to exploring every way we can to meet the challenge climate change poses and stop the harmful impact on our precious planet,” Energy, Clean Growth and Climate Change Minister Greg Hands said. 

“Innovation in new baseload energy technologies will be essential to deliver on the Government’s commitment to achieving Net Zero emissions by 2050,”Frazer-Nash Space Business Manager Martin Soltau, who directed the study, said. 

“Our report recommends that the Government incorporates Space-Based Solar Power into relevant policies, including Net Zero pathways and the National Space Strategy. A staged technology development and demonstration programme should be initiated urgently to see an orbital demonstrator by 2031 and an operational system by 2040.”

“Collaboration with international partners will be necessary, and the Government has a leading role in shaping the regulatory environment for realising Space-Based Solar Power safely and sustainably.”

“We welcome today’s release of the Space-Based Solar Power report. The Government has indicated that it is keen to build further on the findings of Frazer-Nash, developing international partnerships and investigating the potential that Space-Based Solar Power offers in the drive towards decarbonisation.”

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