Ever since the Golden Age era of science fiction, space-based power stations have been an object of desire for lovers of the future – but they haven’t eventuated, so a Yorkshire-based outfit wants to try droning its solar panels at the more manageable 15,000 metres altitude.
The idea, says the trio running the project (and about to launch the obligatory Kickstarter), is that a panel at that altitude gets enough of a performance boost from its altitude to justify hoisting it to that altitude, without the horrifying cost of launching a “solar satellite” to space.
New Wave Energy UK consists of a programmer, Michael Burdett, company secretary Vasso Chatzi, and director Penny Metcalfe.
NWE wants the Kickstarter investors to back it to create a proof-of-concept for a drone-borne solar power plant. As with the long-proposed-but-never-realised space-borne power station proposals, the company proposes using wireless transmissions to return power to the ground, and they believe a 500 MW plant would pay for itself in seven years.