June 3, 08
India Planning to Beam Solar Energy From Space Based Satellites?

The developing world is facing a critical energy shortage and this huge energy shortfall is being rapidly filled with dirty and environmentally hazardous coal fired power plants. By 2030 it is estimated that India alone will be short 700,000 megawatts of electricity mostly centered in rural and hard to reach locations across the countryside.

Yet Mehta has another solution for India's chronic electricity shortage, one that does not involve power plants on the ground but instead massive sun-gathering satellites in geosynchronous orbits 22,000 miles in the sky.

The satellites would electromagnetically beam gigawatts of solar energy back to ground-based receivers, where it would then be converted to electricity and transferred to power grids. And because in high Earth orbit, satellites are unaffected by the earth's shadow virtually 365 days a year, the floating power plants could provide round-the-clock clean, renewable electricity.

"This will be kind of a leap frog action instead of just crawling," said Mehta, who is the director of India operations for Space Island Group, a California-based company working to develop solar satellites. "It is a win-win situation."