The Navy is Testing Beaming Solar Power in Space

Solar power has become a focal point of the battle to mitigate climate change.  The potential of solar power is massive – Earth receives as much solar energy in an hour as all of humanity uses in a year.  Even with that much energy hitting the Earth, it is only a tiny fraction of the sun’s overall output.  Some of that other solar energy hits other planets, but most is just lost to the void of deep space.


There are a number of groups that are leveraging various technologies to capture some of that lost energy.  One of the most common technologies being pursued is the idea of the power satellite.  Recently, one of those groups at America’s Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) hit a milestone in the development of power satellite technology by launching their Photovoltaic RF Antenna Module (PRAM) test satellite.


The idea underlying power satellites is called “power beaming”.  Power beaming systems use one of three different frequencies of light to transmit significant amounts of power over a distance wirelessly.  Last year NRL had a successful demonstration of a land-based power beaming system using an infrared laser.

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