China could be turning the plot of a potential sci-fi film into reality as it looks to send solar panels into space so that they can provide energy to us on Earth.
Bloomberg reported that Longi Green Energy Technology Company, based in Xi’an, China, has planned this move to overcome one of the major setbacks to solar powering: the necessity of having the sun constantly shining.
Sending photovoltaic cells into space can gather power all day long, making it an even more viable alternative energy solution.
Longi had previously aided China in bringing its energy consumption down, according to Bloomberg. It is now dedicating an entire laboratory to developing the project.
The president of the China Space Foundation, Wu Zhijian, notes that this takes the company closer to working with China’s broader space program and, as a whole, takes humanity one step closer to off-planet power harvesting.
The same report also notes how China is home to the first successful space solar transmission model. A team from the Xidian University found a way to capture sunlight from high above the ground, convert it to microwave beams, and send it down to a receptor on land.
The prospect of shooting these energy harvesters into space is not new. CalTech was awarded a grant as far back as 2013 to launch a solar space program. Japan, India, and Russia are also said to be working on similar projects.