Solaren Corp., a US based solar power start-up company has announced that a solar power satellite would supply electricity to 250,000 homes around Fresno County in California.
The satellite will not be affected by weather conditions, and will provide electricity for 24 hours at a stretch.
Solaren Corp. will also be selling electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), California’s largest utility company, which would purchase 200 megawatts of electricity when the project kick starts in 2016.
“We’re convinced it’s a very serious possibility that they can make this work,” PG&E spokesman Jonathan Marshall, was quoted as sying.
“It’s staggering how much power is potentially available in space. And I say ‘potentially’ because a lot remains unknown about the cost and other details,” he added.
Solaren has said that a satellite with solar panels would be launched around 22,000 miles above the earth’s equator.
The satellite’s mirrors would collect the sunrays on photoelectric cells, which would further convert them into radio waves.
The radio beams would be directed to collecting stations on Earth, converted into electricity, and then fed into PG&E’s power grid.
Reports say that in the first year, Solaren would beam an average of 850 gigawatt hours, and 1,700 GWh per year in the remaining term as per a filing to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
“While a system of this scale and exact configuration has not been built, the underlying technology is very mature and is based on communications satellite technology,” Gary Spirnak, CEO of Solaren Corp said.
Although the company claims that the facility would be available at affordable rates, initially, the costs are likely to be prohibitive.
Solaren Corp. is California’s largest largest utility company. It is looking for startup capital to the tune of millions of dollars, to fund the project.
Spirnak has been quoted as saying that Solaren is in parleys with investment trusts in Europe and the United States, with which it hopes to finalize investment agreements by the summer of 2009.
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