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Solar Satellites Affirmative

Solar Satellites Affirmative

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Published by: AffNeg.Com on Jan 08, 2009
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09/14/2012

Concentrating sunlight solves solar panel cost

NASA, 3-21-01 (Science and Technology Directorate at NASA, "Beam it down, Scotty",
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2001/ast23mar_1.htm)[JWu]

Even so, launching thousands of tons of solar arrays into space will be expensive. But there may be a
way to reduce the needed area of the arrays -- by concentrating sunlight.
"If you can concentrate the sun's rays through
the use of large mirrors or lenses you get more for
your money because most of the cost is in the PV arrays,"
said Marzwell.
A drawback to concentrated sunlight is that it is hot. Focused radiation that's not converted to electricity
turns into heat -- enough to damage the arrays if there's too much excess warmth. Marzwell and his
colleagues at JPL are studying ways to capture waste heat and convert it to electricity by means of
thermal voltaic processes. Special coatings on the mirrors and lenses can also reject portions of the
sun's spectrum that PV arrays don't use, further reducing excess heat.

Trillion dollar costs were from 60s research—much progress has happened

NewScientist 10/11/07 ("Pentagon backs plan to beam solar power down from space"
http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn12774)[JWu]

Space-based solar power was first proposed in 1968 by Peter Glaser, an engineer at the consulting firm
Arthur D. Little. Early designs involved solar panel arrays of 50 square kilometres, required hundreds
of astronauts in space to build and were estimated to cost as much as $1 trillion
, says John Mankins, a
former NASA research manager and active promoter of space solar power.

Economically unfeasible

After conducting preliminary research, the US abandoned the idea as economically unfeasible in the 1970s.
Since that time, says Mankins, advances in photovoltaics, electronics and robotics will bring the size
and cost down to a fraction of the original schemes, and eliminate the need for humans to assemble
the equipment in space
.
Several technical challenges remain to be overcome, including the development of lower-cost space
launches. A satellite capable of supplying the same amount of electric power
as a modern fossil-fuel
plant would have a mass of about 3000 tonnes – more than 10 times that of the International Space
Station. Sending that material into orbit would require more than a hundred rocket launches. The US
currently launches fewer than 15 rockets each year.
In spite of these challenges, the NSSO and its supporters say that no fundamental scientific
breakthroughs are necessary to proceed
with the idea and that space-based solar power will be practical
in the next few decades.
"There are no technology hurdles that are show stoppers right now," said Damphousse.

180

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