larsschellhas OP t1_je0yd9s wrote

It's around 50% at the moment, but has no physical limit really. The advantage of microwaves (like Radar) is that they are much less impacted by clouds and weather than visible light.

The receiver stations are also simple antennas which can be manufactured much cheaper than solar PV, therefore making up only a small share of the total CAPEX. I don't have the number off the top of my head, but they can be found in the Roland Berger and Frazer Nash studies.


larsschellhas OP t1_je0to7w wrote

>I've tried to summarise what I was able to learn about it in this article :)

I literally wrote that I wrote the article myself.... 🙈

Yes, I get that. I'm an energy/mechanical engineer, and working as management consultant for the energy industry. It's a hard case. But the problem of renewables right now really is their intermittency... Solar PV has a load factor of 11-16 % over the course of the year, but in winter weeks you can easily get load factors of 1 %.

Space-based solar power can achieve close to 100 % load factor and delivers equally in summer and winter. From the value side, it provides much more than wind and solar do right now. But the cost side, of course, is also much more intensive. However, it appears to become economically feasible with launch costs decreasing further and further. If not as baseload than at least as peak capacity.

ESA is currently running two studies (results expected in the next months) which are expected to show that the cost of such a system could actually be further reduced if we were to use materials from the Moon.


larsschellhas OP t1_je0i7cv wrote

I wasn't trying to promote it... 😔 I've just been down a whole rabbit hole the last weeks realising that ESA, Airbus, and Co. are all over the topic and I wanted to learn everything I could. There is even a government initiative in the UK now (

I've been really excited about it and wanted to discuss with some likeminded people here, just sharing the background for those who haven't heard of it.

Didn't expect to be completely overwhelmed with 100 % underwhelmed reactions though. Really making me sad right now.


larsschellhas OP t1_je0hg54 wrote

Well, starship is aiming to bring launch costs down to as low as 10 $/kg.

At that price SBSP would still be slightly more expensive than solar and wind, but much cheaper than storage, backup & peak load technologies which we will be needing in a purely renewable system anyway.

SBSP has the big advantage that it can deliver power to many markets, simply by switching to another base station. Thanks to this, it can capture much higher wholesale prices for electricity than wind and solar.

Essentially, it could capture 24/7 peak power prices, putting it at a better position than ground-based wind and solar even though it has higher levelised cost of energy.


larsschellhas OP t1_je0didg wrote

They receive 8 times more energy per year than ground-based solar power. Even if you lose 50 % during transmission you get a) 4 times the power than on Earth with the same capacity b) continuous power supply throughout the year.

And if anyone is going to be allowed to build a SBSP satellite, it will include power beaming designs which are inherently safe and cannot be used for "mass destruction".


How about using it to power the moon base or rovers first, who otherwise remain in the long cold night of the moon?


larsschellhas OP t1_je0d558 wrote

It could be overall cheaper. What you also need for solar power on the ground is storage, storage, storage, and 10x the capacity, because you won't produce enough in the winter.

SBSP could go hand in hand with ground-based systems providing the necessary dispatchable baseload or peak power, enabling a truly renewable system without expensive backup power stations.