The general idea is: You build a massive "belt" of solar cells around the Moon's equator (that's about 6,800 miles, or 11,000 kilometers). You convert that electricity to microwaves or lasers that you beam back to Earth from the near-side of the Moon (the side always closest to Earth), and you convert those beams back to electricity at power stations so that it can be fed into the grid.

The solar belt would initially be relatively small, but could be grown up to 400 kilometers wide over time. Such a belt could produce more than enough clean energy for all of humanity and then some...

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2,970 hits 3.3 (4 votes) Share Favorite | Flag 11 years ago by KikiPeepers

Do you think a solar 'panel' on the moon may be the answer to our energy crisis?
The general idea is: You build a massive "belt" of solar cells around the Moon's equator (that's about 6,800 miles, or 11,000 kilometers). You convert that electricity to microwaves or lasers that you beam back to Earth from the near-side of the Moon (the side always closest to Earth), and you convert those beams back to electricity at power stations so that it can be fed into the grid.

The solar belt would initially be relatively small, but could be grown up to 400 kilometers wide over time. Such a belt could produce more than enough clean energy for all of humanity and then some...

http://www.treehugger.com/files/201...


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11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Thursday 6/3/10 - 11:54:30 PM EST (GMT-5)
Solution: no. Long term goal: maybe. It simply couldn't happen now. Maybe it'll be possible in 50-100 years, but the energy crisis will need a solution well before then.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 12:01:58 AM EST (GMT-5)
When is the world's energy supply estimated to run out, again?


I say it's worth a shot, and it definitely beats doing nothing.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 12:04:29 AM EST (GMT-5)
While a microwave power plant may be plausible, the problem here is that the moon is not in geosynchronous orbit.

Second, it is simply not economical to send ANYTHING to the moon on that scale, especially given that we have come nowhere near the extent of solar power generation here on Earth.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 12:08:32 AM EST (GMT-5)
My "back-of-the-envelope" first estimate suggests that it would take more energy to install and service such a system than it would provide.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 1:27:56 AM EST (GMT-5)
Seems like way too much money to spend on something we could put on the earth itself...
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 5:20:35 AM EST (GMT-5)
I really have no idea how converting microwaves/lasers back into electricity works.. but wouldn't that need a lot of power in itself?
So you would need a different source of power to power the thing that converted the moons power? Which would mean either installing another natural power source on earth (which would just bring it back to the first step), or using fossil fuels to do it.
(I really hope that made sense)

Also!
Making that would take a sh*t load. So you'd make a hell of a lot of polluting just by installing that thing.
I mean rockets that go to the moon aren't exactly the most fuel efficient things in the world, and what about everything needed to actually make the solar panels?
That would probably pollute a fair bit to make too.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 5:50:44 AM EST (GMT-5)
Ridiculous idea.

For many reasons, not least of which is the vast amount of pollution that is created from producing "green" solar panels.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 12:18:04 PM EST (GMT-5)
whats wrong with building solar panels on earth instead? Here in california we have millions of square miles of totally worthless desert to put them in.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 12:31:35 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Friday 6/4/10 - 12:18:04 PM marc780 wrote:
whats wrong with building solar panels on earth instead? Here in california we have millions of square miles of totally worthless desert to put them in.


Absorbing that much of the sun's energy would cause a global cooling disaster...
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 1:04:34 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Friday 6/4/10 - 12:18:04 PM marc780 wrote:
whats wrong with building solar panels on earth instead? Here in california we have millions of square miles of totally worthless desert to put them in.


My only problem with solar panels is the amount of pollution their manufacture creates. Seriously, they're about the least green form of energy I can think of.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 3:32:46 PM EST (GMT-5)
How did I know this was a KikiPeepers question before I even looked?
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 3:42:26 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Friday 6/4/10 - 1:04:34 PM Brunnen_G wrote:
My only problem with solar panels is the amount of pollution their manufacture creates. Seriously, they're about the least green form of energy I can think of.


Granted that solar panel manufacturing can result in pollution production, the notion that they are the "least green form of energy" is grossly exaggerated. Maybe in China where there are no pollution controls at all is it the "least green" because that type of heavy metal pollution is far worse than any greenhouse gas emissions. However, with the proper controls in place, solar power is less costly for the environment than fossil fuel combustion.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 4:30:27 PM EST (GMT-5)
However, China is the world's largest manufacturer of solar panels.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/b...

11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 4:38:37 PM EST (GMT-5)
Can't argue there. But theoretically, if a project of this magnitude were commissioned, the solar panels could be produced in a manner that does not take an excessive toll on the environment.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 5:55:32 PM EST (GMT-5)
Theoretically, yes.

But if solar panels were to become a major source of energy, they would have to be made cheaply. That means China and horrifying pollution.

Personally I think the energy source of the future should be geothermal energy. The advances in this field are very exciting. Give it 40 years, we'll be able to build geothermal plants almost anywhere.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Friday 6/4/10 - 10:48:17 PM EST (GMT-5)
I'm fairly certain we have sunlight on Earth, too...
also it's not even like that's our only option. there's plenty of energy, afaik.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Sunday 6/6/10 - 8:47:15 PM EST (GMT-5)
hey i never thought of that thats a good idea but lets not use our moon for money
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Monday 6/7/10 - 3:50:05 PM EST (GMT-5)
Right now solar panels are too expensive to produce in large quantities cheaply, so of course they're going to be produced in countries that cut production corners to produce the cheapest possible product.

However, advancements in solar cells are made so that smaller panels can produce more energy and are cheaper to manufacture, it would be an enormous breakthrough for desert and tropical regions. Already I see people in my town putting solar panels on their roofs, and it's amazing how much energy can be produced by them. The panels pay for themselves within a few years.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Monday 6/7/10 - 3:59:02 PM EST (GMT-5)
I imagine that it depends a lot on one's state. According to this site, it would take 20 years for my solar panels to pay for themselves...

http://solartradingpost.com/calcula...
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Monday 6/7/10 - 3:59:42 PM EST (GMT-5)
I think a solar power station orbiting freely around the Earth (not on the moon) would be more feasible than building it on the moon, unless there were a colony built on the moon that required a solar power station, in which case transmitting the excess power back to the earth could be worthwhile.

Also, if the solar panels are incorporated into the satellite for a space elevator it may not be necessary to rely on potentially dangerous microwave beams for transmitting the energy back to earth.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Monday 6/7/10 - 4:02:19 PM EST (GMT-5)
Do you know what you pay per kWh, CD?
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Monday 6/7/10 - 4:03:26 PM EST (GMT-5)
Although, Wisconsin only getting an average of 4 hours of sunlight per day is probably the main reason why you'd such a crappy payback.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Monday 6/7/10 - 4:06:05 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Monday 6/7/10 - 4:02:19 PM Raisinman wrote:
Do you know what you pay per kWh, CD?


According to the power company's website, it's currently about 12.6 cents per kWh.
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Monday 6/7/10 - 4:06:22 PM EST (GMT-5)
On Monday 6/7/10 - 4:03:26 PM Raisinman wrote:
Although, Wisconsin only getting an average of 4 hours of sunlight per day is probably the main reason why you'd such a crappy payback.


That would be my guess...
11 yrs ago, 1 mos ago - Monday 6/7/10 - 4:08:08 PM EST (GMT-5)
Another factor is that most of my energy costs are for natural gas usage rather than electricity.

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