Three years ago, China began designing a solar power plant that would transfer energy back to Earth. Its construction temporarily stopped because of debates over its cost and safety, but the project was resumed in June this year. Now the Chinese authorities plan to deploy a 1-megawatt orbital solar station by 2030, and a 1-gigawatt one by 2049, which is the equivalent to the largest nuclear power reactor.
The scientists from Chongqing University say that the project received support from businesses and authorities after China announced its plans to become carbon neutral by 2060.
The orbital solar power plant will receive light energy 24 hours a day and send the resulting electricity as microwave radiation back to Earth. Energy losses in the atmosphere will be approximately 2%.
The construction takes place in the Bishan district, with 2 hectares being allocated for construction purposes. Local residents are strictly forbidden to enter the buffer zone over safety concerns. Scientists are currently learning to control wireless energy using a balloon located at an altitude of 300 meters above the ground. The next step is to obtain energy from an airship located more than 20 km away. The tests will later take place in space.
However, there are concerns that microwave radiation will affect the health of locals, as well as interfere with electronics.