Illustration of solar energy transmitted by a satellite in orbit above the UK. Mmdi/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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The UK government has announced £4.3 million ($5.4 million) in funding for space solar projects, which will go to UK universities and tech companies.
Space solar energy consists of installing solar panels on satellites sent into space. The panels collect solar energy and the wireless technology can send the electricity back to Earth, as explained by the British government. in a report. Eight projects will receive part of the funding.
One of the winners is the University of Cambridge, which will receive funding to develop ultra-light panels capable of withstanding the higher levels of radiation found in space. MicroLink Devices, another recipient, is developing lightweight and flexible solar panels. Winner Queen Mary University is developing wireless technology capable of beaming solar energy collected from satellites back to Earth.
Other winners include the Satellite Applications Catapult, which will test the beam direction and quality of its satellite antenna technology in a project and study the advancement of commercialized solar power from space in a separate award-winning project, as reported by Energy Voice.
The University of Bristol will receive funding to explore wireless power transfer and provide evidence on the safety and performance of space-based solar power. Imperial College London is a winner to study the benefits and impacts of space solar power. EDF Energy R&D UK Center Ltd will receive part of the funds to “improve knowledge of the value of bringing space-based solar power into the UK grid”, according to a government statement.
Space solar power could improve energy security in the UK, reduce utility bills for consumers and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, officials say. According to a 2021 study, space solar power could generate 10 GW of electricity per year by 2050 and would create 143,000 jobs.
“We are taking a giant step in supporting the development of this exciting technology and putting the UK at the forefront of this burgeoning industry as it prepares for launch,” said Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero. A declaration. “By winning this new space race, we can transform the way we power our nation and provide cheaper, cleaner and safer energy for generations to come.”
The UK joins several countries in exploring solar power projects in space. Earlier this month, researchers from the California Institute of Technology in the United States shared that their space-based solar power prototype was capable of successfully return current to Earth for the first time.