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PG&E Venturing Into Space Solar

PG&E has been a big supporter of land-based solar projects for a while now, but yesterday they announced they're expanding their solar interest far beyond California, into outer space. The utility plans on purchasing 200 MW of electricity from Solaren Corp., a start-up trying to produce solar power in space.

Solaren will harness the energy with orbiting solar panels that convert the energy into radio-frequency transmissions that will be beamed down to a Fresno-based receiving station. The energy would then be converted to electricity and cialis no doctor added to www.airatlanta.ie the grid.

PG&E still faces approval from state regulators for it's 15-year purchasing plan. The rate at which PG&E is purchasing the electricity is reportedly comparable to that of other renewable energies. The utility is managing their risk by making no upfront investments in the technology.

If everything goes according to plan, this will be the viagra cheapest pharmacy first real-world application of space solar power, with power delivery starting in 2016. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this works out. The technology has been experimented with for a while and has a lot of potential and, let's face it, running your home on "space power" would be really cool.

via MSNBC

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Comments (22)Add Comment
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A catastrophe waiting to happen
written by Noddy, April 15, 2009
This is crazy stuff. In order for it to be efficiently collected at the receiving end, the microwave energy would have to be highly focussed into a narrow beam. The area under the beam would cook any organisms which happened to click here cheap cialis wander into the field - birds, wildlife, people etc.

Aircraft flight paths would have to be altered.

What would happen in the event of a control positioning servo malfunction which caused the satellite to beam the energy onto an urban area? You would have a lot of cooked/severely injured people and animals.

What would happen when the area under the beam was cloudy or raining - you would have atmospheric effects.

No current systems we have can ensure failsafe operation, so in effect PG&E are willing to risk human safety for a commercial gain.
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...
written by TheGeek, April 15, 2009
Ok to combat Noddy's FUD.

Nothing in any of the 100 mg viagra articles said anything about microwaves, they said "radio-frequency transmissions". Yes microwaves are radio-frequency but there are frequencies that are still in the microwave band that do not cause water molecules to vibrate like your home microwave oven.

The area under the beam would be the receiver which I am sure would be surrounded by fences and warning signs, like any other electric substation so nothing could just "wander into the field".

"What would happen when the area under the beam was cloudy or raining"

It all depend on the frequencies used. Some are stopped by clouds and rain other are not. Cloud penetrating radar comes to mind.

"No current systems we have can ensure failsafe operation..."

The system isn't even close to being in it's final design yet, so saying it can't fail-safe is more then a bit premature. I can think of it's cool levitra online without prescription at lest three ways to make sure the beam only lands where you want and shuts off if it don't. And, I'm sure the Solaren guys have people smarter then me working for them.

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global warming?
written by Tom, April 15, 2009
The earth has a certain area, that area recevies a certain amount of solar energy, whether we use it for electricity or just let it heat up ground it still gets energy.
Now this little project of 200Mw is not much more than the billions of watts already hitting the ground every day, but if this becomes a big success we will be building more of these, bigger ones also, and gradually adding more and more solar energy to buy female viagra the surface area of the earth.
How is that any worse or better than releasing the energy from billions of tons of past solar energy stored in fossile fuel pumped out of roguelephant.com the ground?
The problem with a beam of energy going to the ground is not any bigger than having a system of small laser that has to align with a photosensitive cell, if the system is not perfectly aligned, no power gets transmitted.
Besides several radiostations is broadcasting with millions of watts, and they dont fry the levitra online usa birds sitting on the transmitter tower.
You need more space for solar cells?
take 10 million used plastic water bottles, glue them to the back of the long flexible solar cells they make today, add cable, and put them in the pacific ocean of the coast, its a lot cheaper than sending up sattelites anyway. And I do believe there are a lot of rooftops, top of cars and best cialis trucks, carparks, factories and a lot of other places still not covered in solar cells, use them first please, before starting to dream up new ways of wow it's great levitra on line adding more heat to an already heating earth.
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@TheGeek
written by Noddy, April 15, 2009
@TheGeek. Not FUD, just that you don't have knowledge of RF technology which makes you ignorant.

Let me explain: In order to focus the RF energy into a beam (so that it will not be dispersed), it will have to be in the cm/mm wavelengths.

Go study some science moron.
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@Noddy
written by TheGeek, April 15, 2009
I as a licensed radio operator have knowledge of RF technology. There are ways, through antenna design, to make any radio signal from 160meters to cialis online fast delivery 70cm and shorter wave lengths directional. Yes it is easier and more effective to do it in the shorter wave lengths. But, again just because it is in the microwave band does not mean it's cook your food microwave.
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What other BS must we read?
written by hyperspaced, April 15, 2009
Really. It's like we've reached our capacity on Earth and we are seeking alternative solutions.

This project is clearly NONSENSE in many ways, both technical and economical alike.

Not counting the launch costs, an EXOTIC (HUGE and EXPENSIVE) satellite dish is required to keep (most of) the beam focused in one area -that is a BIG area-.

Despite the huge dish, the received power will be MANY TENS OF THOUSAND TIMES LESS (Friis law)

Of course there are EXTREMELY serious environmental and health safety concerns.

blah blah blah, MSNBC crap.
[...]
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@TheGeek
written by Noddy, April 15, 2009
@TheGeek. You are obviously talking out of your ass. It is almost inconceivable that a satellite would transmit high energy RF on 170 meters.

Regardless of whether there are heating effects or not, the biological effects of a 200MW high frequency signal are probably horrendous.

Go back to winding inductors for your crystal sets.
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Microwave Power Transmission Satellite
written by mthomas, April 15, 2009
I have patent pending on solar. No mention of device for transmission and www.guenstige-versicherungen-online.de I won't tell.

TheGeek, you correct and Noddy you are both correct.

But the frying of a few pigeons or having aircraft change their flypath is going to stop this technology.

Reality the world needs energy more than a couple of insignificant birds and planes have rudders for changing course. These insignificant problems and more will not deter this energy period.

If the US does'nt want it Japan, Korea, Iran, Somali, etc. will.

0
Import global warming
written by Tom34, April 15, 2009
It looks to me like importing more energy from space to earth.
Is it a new (expensive) technology to increase global warming?

See U,
TOM.
0
...
written by Sherry, April 15, 2009
There could be no better investment in America than to viagra for women invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.The high cost of order viagra international fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. The cost of fuel effects every facet of consumer goods from production to shipping costs. It costs the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric car. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV's instead had plug-in electric drive trains the only today generic viagra india amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota.We have so much available to us such as wind and buy viagra online without a prescription solar. Let's spend some of those bail out billions and get busy harnessing this energy. Create cheap clean energy, badly needed new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. What a win-win situation that would be for our nation at large! There is a really good new book out by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now.
0
Cost effective?
written by Alex, April 15, 2009
With all of buy discount viagra the concern about cost per watt of photovoltaics not being competetive with other methods of generating electricity, how does it make sense to add the cost of a satellite to the bottom line? How much is this satellite going to cost, not to mention the ground station, and then there is the launch: a minimum of $50 million just to get that bird in the sky. This seems more like a pipe dream than a profitable venture.
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embedded energy
written by Mark, April 15, 2009
The energy used to launch the system in space would be huge. That would have to factor into the embedded energy cost. I wonder if this would have better or worse embedded energy cost than thin film PV solar?

If this is not to place a shadow on the earth then it will add to the net energy received by the earth (and thus global warming). However, the effect would be roughly equivalent to adding an area of land about 20% that of the area required to PV power the world (commercial solar cells being 20% efficient). The figure for the click now viagra for sale area of land to PV power the USA is on this site somewhere.

I'd prefer to get my energy from a distributed system on land, than a central system in space for a bunch of political and security reasons.
0
how eco friendly is shooting things up i
written by Mika Sjöman, April 15, 2009
It seems that I missed some basic chemistry classes, but is suddenly rocket fuel green? And my nice guess it would take LOADS of it to put this shit up in space. And w8, lets think about how this process goes:
The sunbeams -> converted though PV -> to electricity -> to RF -> then to electricity on the ground. Sounds like there is going to be heavy losses in energy.
0
...
written by Ezra, April 15, 2009
Space based solar might make sense in the distant future if we have a space elevator in place, but so long as your blasting solar panels on fossil-fuel burning rockets the net effect of these kinds of installations will be negative.
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@Noddy
written by In the know, April 15, 2009
@Noddy Hate to burst your bubble, but it is you that has no idea what the F*** he is talking about:

http://www.spaceenergy.com/i/pdf/safety_paper.pdf

Dr. James Logan, NASA:
The beam would utilize a 2.45 or 5.8 GHz microwave signal to provide between 1 and 5 GW of power to the ground.
...
The peak power density at the center of canadian viagra scam the beam at it intersects the rectenna is on the order of 300 watts per square meter (W/m2) or 30 miliwatts per square centimeter (mW/cm2).
...
This means the power density at the center of the SBSP beam is only 3% as strong as a typical counter top microwave oven.

Read the white paper, there are further details on how safe this technology is.

I'll take Dr. Logan's PhD over your Internet BS any day.
0
@In the know
written by hyperspaced, April 16, 2009
This is funny. I can't believe what this "doctor" is writing. Clearly this is biased or he has very limited knowledge of how human biology/science works. I tend to believe the first.

Non-ionizing radiation:
This is a big fairy-tale. While non-ionizing radiation cannot itself knock-out an electron off the viagra online purchase atom itself (that's where the name comes from), the heating effects inhibit biological processes in the body that reduce naturally occurring free radicles. That's why we have safety limits EVEN for microwave (non-ionizing) radiation. The guy saw the tree but clearly missed the forest here.

Power density:
300 Watts/m^2 ???? Do you know what is the safety limit? In EU (Greece) it's 6 Watts/m^2 for a period of 7 minutes!!!! 300 Watts/m^2 coming straight on your head right from the sky!!!

Attenuation:
He mentioned somewhere that only 2-3% of the total power is lost from space to earth!! How on earth did he come to that? Clearly he has to tell his secret to all satellite TV networks, ESA etc. and become filthy rich!! But let's see how this could be possible.
Assuming:
35,000 Km above ground (geosynch orbit)
3 GHz frequency,
the free space loss dictated by Friis's law is (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-space_path_loss)

FSPL(dB) = 20*log(35000) + 20*log(3000) + 32.44 ~= 193 dB

In order to compensate for that loss, HUGE parabolic (dish) antennae are used. So, to lose only 3% (that is approx. 0.1 dB) that would require a dish antenna with Gain = 193+0.1 ~= 193dB, or 2 dish antennae (transmission and reception) of 96.5dB each

From here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dish_antenna

we find that those 2 dish antennae with 96.5dB gain should be 3500 meters (!!!) in diameter each.

So, there is no possible way to lose only 3% unless there is a way to cheaply construct them (launch costs not included!!)

Beam focusing:
Higher frequency, better focusing. But if you go above 7GHz water molecules absorb a tremendous amount of power. So unfortunately this is not a viable option.

How focused is the beam then?
If we accept that most of the radiated energy (200MW) is emitted within 0.5 degree steradian from where the beam is focusing, that means that:
At 35,000 Kilometers height, the receiving area on Earth should have a radius of:

radius = 35,000 Km * tan(0.5) ~= 300 Km !!!!

That's an area of approx. 280,000 square Kilometers !!! That's more than twice the size of Greece!!!

Solar panels:
I bet if you used a fraction of this area (e.g. in Nevada desert) with solar cells, you'd get 10 times more energy, 10 times cheaper.


Get your facts straight and don't believe everything you read, especially from people that told you to "Duck and Cover" when a nuke strikes.
0
@In the not knowing
written by Noddy, April 16, 2009
Hey genius. Did you know that exposure of a rat to microwaves at merely 5-10mW/cm2 for a period of one hour will increase the temperate of cialis generic order online problem its anus by 2.3C-4.0C?

We don't even understand the televideocom.com more subtle
0
@In the not knowing
written by Noddy, April 16, 2009
Transmission error:

Hey genius. Did you know that exposure of a rat to microwaves at merely 5-10mW/cm2 for a period of one hour will increase the temperate of its anus by 2.3C-4.0C?

We don't even understand the more subtle biological effects. In this case we would have not just humans under the umbrella of this radiation, but an entire ecosytem of prokryotic and eukryotic organisms. No one knows what would happen.

It is unthinking blind followers of 'experts' like you who are the enablers of dangerous untested technology.

Next time think before you fart.
0
missing the point
written by GreenEngineer, April 16, 2009
All of this stuff about getting the energy back to Earth is a big question, but you're getting way, way ahead of the real problem.

The real problem is cost of material to orbit, and our lack of cialis sale on-orbit construction experience.

Currently, getting something to LEO costs $5,000-$10,000 PER POUND. That cost would need to drop by AT LEAST an order of magnitude to make this proposal at all economic.

Also, consider what a big deal it was to deploy the ISS's new solar panels. That's because working on orbit is hard, and is something we don't have very much experience with. This project would be a construction project thousands of times bigger than the entire ISS, and we saw how efficiently that has come together.

Proposing to build solar power satellites with our current level of technology and experience is like a bunch of beavers deciding to build Hoover dam.

For what it's worth, I'm not just shooting from the hip here. I currently work in green buildings and levitra forums where can i purchase renewable energy, but I used to work in the rocket industry (Rotary Rocket).
0
EE
written by Tom Jolly, April 22, 2009
Just to put in my 2-cents worth; this can't be cost-effective. The first time the thing breaks, and PG&E has to spend a hundred million to do a repair that could have been done for $1000 on an Earth-based facility, this pipe-dream will go away. Assuming we're talking geo-sync orbits (25000 miles), we don't even DO satellite servicing that high, or have the capability. Why conject about it? PG&E will only pay for it once to find out what a bad investment it is.
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...
written by SBS advocate, June 05, 2009
@The ppl who are posting negative comments about SBS.

You obviously have no idea of the unlimited potential SBS holds. I don’t know what your credentials are, but judging from your posts you have very limited knowledge of SBS, the technology applied, or what it will do for humanity by furthering our capabilities.

This is not the generic levitra usa place to argue technicalities either so the ppl doing that are pathetically desperate. Obviously there are many technical/social/political obstacles that hinder its launch/operation, but all new technologies/capabilities have their setbacks and take time to figure out solutions. The real problem, like every great idea, is funding and political influence. If SBS got even a fraction of the amount of money Nuclear Fusion gets, or the billions Big Oil spends on research/development, SBS would be already flying, powering the globe and space exploration.

The correct architecture, making SBS feasible, has yet to be developed. Don’t limit your mind by saying it can’t be done! Rather use your brain and think of how you can improve the design. If you can’t do that, then just keeping doing all you know how to do: post pointless, negative comments and show everyone how unintelligent you are.
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written by Fred, July 09, 2009
cool way of getting more solar power

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