Solar Power from Space
A futuristic scheme to collect solar energy on satellites and beam it to Earth has gained a large supporter in the US military. A report [download pdf file] released on October, 10 by the National Security Space Office recommends that the US government sponsor projects to demonstrate solar-power-generating satellites and provide financial incentives for further private development of the technology.
Space-based solar power would use kilometre-sized solar panel arrays to gather sunlight in orbit. It would then beam power down to Earth in the form of microwaves or a laser, which would be collected in antennas on the ground and then converted to electricity. Unlike solar panels based on the ground, solar power satellites placed in geostationary orbit above the Earth could operate at night and during cloudy conditions.