Technological watch

A comprehensive review on space solar power satellite: an idiosyncratic approach

Space solar power satellite (SSPS) is a prodigious energy system that collects and converts solar power to electric power in space, and then transmits the electric power to Earth wirelessly. The main principle of this system is to supply constant solar energy by placing collectors in geo-synchronous orbit and collecting it on an Earth-based receiver, known as a rectenna. This system can overcome serious drawbacks, especially the pseudo-random intermittent capacity factor of ground-based solar power or photovoltaic systems and modules. This paper discusses some old and new concepts of solar power satellite designs and the effects of various parameters on the efficiency of collecting medium, transmission media, and receivers’ area. We evaluated and reviewed the three major components of the space-based satellite that have a hand in affecting the overall efficiency of the system, which are (1) collection unit, (2) power transmission unit, and (3) the receiving unit. This paper reviews the system as a whole, as proposed in the last three decades. Many of the microwave-based SSPS models that were proposed so far are based on solar concentrators. The required launch mass and system cost could be significantly reduced by using solar concentration and hence higher efficiency can be achieved. SSPS requires new microwave technology to achieve a high power conversion efficiency of over 80% and extremely accurate beam control from the 2 km phased array transmitting antenna. Such specifications are extremely demanding and therefore significant effort is required for proper research and development. Under this technology roadmap, current research and development lead to the beginning of the new SSPS era in the coming decades.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 1914.