ESA Opens Call for Ideas for Space-Based Solar Power

The stages of space based solar power. image credit: ESA.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking to solve some of the challenges with space-based solar power and has put out a call for ideas in which Canadian companies are eligible to participate.

The concept of space-based solar power is not new. But recently the push to begin research into the challenges and turn the concept into reality has gained some momentum with several agencies funding new research.

The Canadian Space Agency Tweeted yesterday the fact that Canadian companies “are eligible to submit an idea.”

In its call for ideas, ESA states that “Space-based solar power, SBSP for short, would involve the placing of giant solar farm satellites far enough away from Earth that they can receive sunlight 24 hours a day. The power-generating satellites would then beam the collected energy down (using low-intensity radio waves, for example) to strategically placed ground stations connected to the grid or major power users.”

The call for ideas is available on the ESA Open Space Innovation Platform. ESA has identified several research topics including:

  • Assessing risks to human health
  • Assessing risks to flora and fauna
  • Understanding the impacts on the atmosphere and weather
  • Understanding the potential impact on aviation and ground infrastructure
  • Understanding the environmental impact and carbon costs of launch and deployment

ESA further states that “overall, the aim is to solidify the scientific basis of space-based solar power, and improve our understanding of how it can be implemented in a way that is safe for the public, the environment and ecosystems.”

SOLARIS is a proposed preparatory program by ESA for space-based solar power.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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