Space Solar Power: An Idea Whose Time Will Never Come?
Fetter, Steve. "Space Solar Power: An Idea Whose Time Will Never Come?" Physics and Society, Vol. 33, No. 1 (January 2004)
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Arthur Smith laments the lack of attention to space solar power (SSP), but SSP cannot compete with solar power based on earth. The advantage of SSP is a large and constant solar flux: 1.37 kW m–2 or 12,000 kWh m–2 y–1. This is about five times higher than the average flux in sunny areas on the earth’s surface, such as the American southwest. The larger solar flux in space cannot compensate, however, for the cost of placing systems in orbit and losses in transmitting the electricity back to earth.