World first UK prototype could pave the way for constant energy all the time – from space

Building the solar power farm in space would take more than 60 rocket flights and a team of robot builders – but it’s one step closer to being a reality.

A company hoping to launch the first solar farm into space has passed a critical milestone with a prototype on Earth.

Oxfordshire-based Space Solar plans to power more than a million homes by the 2030s with mile-wide complex of mirrors and solar panels orbiting 22,000 miles above the planet.

But its super-efficient design for harvesting constant sunlight – called CASSIOPeiA – requires the system to rotate towards the sun, whatever its position, while still sending power to a fixed receiver on the ground.

That’s now been shown to work for the first time at Queen’s University Belfast, with a wireless beam successfully “steered” across a lab to turn on a light.

Martin Soltau, the company’s founder, told Sky News in an exclusive interview: “This is a world first. You can get constant energy all the time.

“This is really going to have a substantial impact on our future energy systems.”

Solar panels capture 13 times more energy in space than they do on the ground because the light intensity is higher and there’s no atmosphere, clouds or night.

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