solar power satellite

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Overview

A solar power satellite (SPS) is an artificial satellite which converts solar radiation to electric power. Most current SPS designs include some means for transmitting or conveying the power to Earth as part of a space-based solar power system.

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Terminology

Due to the large area of solar collectors involved in any economically productive design, the farm-like regularity of the layout of the rectangular panels, and the similarities between farming (using the sun's energy to grow plants for economic gain) and solar power production (converting the sun's energy to electricity for economic gain), solar power satellite designs are often referred to as "solar farms".

Future usage: perhaps "...satellite" should refer to the main module which anchors the solar panels, controls position, and beams the power back to Earth, while "...farm" would refer to the entire apparatus.

Query: are there other farm-like uses of large arrays of solar collectors/reflectors? Would a solar power collector used for generating intense heat (e.g. for melting metal) also be a "solar farm", and if so do we need to be more specific and call the SPS usage a "solar power farm" or "solar electric farm"?

Related

In Progress

  • /Henson-Daniel: sketch of a plan to get space-based solar power up and running